Evensong - Sunday of 2nd Week, Trinity Term 2019
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Choir of New College Oxford

Organ Scholarships

An organ scholarship at New College provides invaluable training for players considering a career in music.  They are an important part of the choir:  working alongside the Assistant Organist, they play for chapel services, assist in the training of the choristers and take an active part in the musical life of the college and wider university as accompanists.  Free organ and vocal tuition is provided.  The organ scholar's bursary is currently £750 per year, plus professional fees from concerts and tours, and a room (with piano) is provided for all three years in college. The choir aims to attract proficient players (Grade 8 and diploma standard) who will relish the opportunity to work in a musically challenging environment, and develop professional level skills.

Lawrence Thain, organ scholar 2008-11.

Students wishing to discuss a future at New College are warmly encouraged to be in touch with Robert Quinney

Click on Organ Scholarships for more information on organ scholarships at Oxford University.


Charles Maxtone-Smith, organ scholar 2017-present

Ryan Wigglesworth, winner of the vocal prize in the 2010 British Composers Awards, and international conductor, writes of his time at New College as organ scholar:

Ryan Wigglesworth

It’s difficult to generalise about New College organ scholars, their predilections, and their post-University career routes. I’d hazard a guess that of all the ‘big’ Oxbridge choral foundations, New College has produced the fewest cathedral organists. In recent years, the tendency has been to gravitate towards piano accompaniment, continuo playing, conducting, or in my case, composing and conducting. There’s no particular reason for this, and it’s certainly not to say that New College organ scholars don’t emerge with the equipment necessary for a job in the cathedral loft or choir stalls. Patently not! To simply state the skills that can become second nature after three years at NC might suffice: accompanying the peerless choir in a huge range of repertoire; directing the choir itself; continuo playing (both harpsichord and organ); dealing with demanding concert and recording schedules; period-instrument performance practice; voice training; singing (if you’ve a usable voice yourself); sight-reading; score-reading; transposing; playing from antiquated clefs – the latter four sometimes simultaneously, and all whilst grappling with a barely legible facsimile score…

But somehow a wider perspective is always in view. Doubtless these skills are useful in themselves (and doubtless some you’ll never need to use again), but – and here’s the crucial point – they are all serving the main task of becoming a rounded musician, of learning and understanding the craft.