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.
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).
Alternatively, contact the Director of Chapel Music, Will Dawes, at any point after receiving your offer, or even during your studies here.
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 audition, you need to apply to Oxford through the Organ Scholar route. Unlike other Oxford applicants, Organ Scholars have academic interviews at the same time as their auditions in late September or early October. You will therefore need to have your personal statement, academic references and any written work required ready to submit directly by the organ scholar application deadline of September 1st.
For further details and instructions on how to apply, visit the University’s website.