Our choral and organ scholarships are a fantastic way to develop your skills through high-level performance and, in the case of our organ scholarships, they represent a genuine means of support for students wishing to pursue their musical development more seriously.

Choral Scholarships

Somerville offers up to eight Choral Scholarships each year to join the 28-strong choir. Scholarships are open to applicants wishing to read any subject at Somerville and for any voice part. They are awarded every year, both through through the centralised Choral Trials scheme, and also during fresher’s week at the start of every Michaelmas term.

Our Choral Scholars receive free singing lessons and have plenty of solo-singing opportunities. Masterclasses over the last year have taken place with Ben Parry (Director of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain), Rachel Nicholls, and The King’s Singers. Choral Scholars also give an annual recital of solos and duets and have the opportunity to put on their own recitals. Recent Somerville Choral Scholars can currently be found at the Royal College of Music and in the group VOCES8.

If you would like to audition at Choral Trials, read the information and complete the online application form on the University website by September 1st (note that this is 6 weeks earlier than the academic application deadline of October 15th).

Apply for Choral Trials

Alternatively, contact the Director of Chapel Music, Will Dawes, at any point after receiving your offer, or even during your studies here.

Contact Will Dawes

Organ Scholarships

Organ Scholars at Somerville are provided with an honorarium of £300pa, as well as £750pa for organ, conducting, and singing lessons, as well as the purchasing of sheet music. The college will additionally subsidise expenses associated with professional development (e.g. RCO examinations or course fees).

Organ Scholars at Somerville can read any subject offered by the college and, like every undergraduate at Somerville, they are guaranteed rooms in college for the duration of their course. In return, our Organ Scholars take a leading role in fostering all aspects of the choir’s activities. The exact commitments vary from scholar to scholar, but all organ scholars play, conduct, and sing as part of their role.

The organ is by Harrison & Harrison. There is also a Steinway grand piano within the chapel, as well as a two manual harpsichord. There are at least two organ scholars at any one time.

If you wish to be considered for an organ scholarship, you need to apply through the centralised Organ Trials. These take place in September, a year before your course would start (two years before deferred entry). The application deadline is September 1st each year.

From 2024, Organ Award candidates will now be academically assessed alongside the gathered field for their course (including any pre-admissions tests).

For further details and instructions on how to apply, visit the University’s website.

Organ Awards Information