The Organ Scholars play a vital role in the musical life of the Chapel. The College has a strong musical tradition and, working in collaboration with the Director of Music, Dr Simon Jackson, and the Dean, the Organ Scholars play an active role in leading and shaping the musical life of the College. Organ Scholars are appointed through the University of Cambridge central competition for Organ Scholarships. Candidates may read any of the subjects offered by the College. There is a vacancy for entry in 2018 and 2019, and the deadline for applications is 1st September.
Organ Scholars at Peterhouse are fully involved in all aspects of the music-making in Chapel: duties include rehearsing and training the choir, conducting and accompanying services, and helping to organise tours, concerts and other events. Working with a professional Director of Music, Organ Scholars graduate from Peterhouse with highly-developed musical skills and many go on to pursue successful musical careers.
A wide range of opportunities and benefits are on offer to Organ Scholars at Peterhouse. The scholarships themselves have a financial value and also entitle the holder to free singing, choral conducting and organ lessons with professional teachers. The Organ Scholars are entitled to some of the largest rooms in College, at a subsidised rent, with a piano provided. Choir practices are always followed by Formal Hall at College expense. Choir meals are traditionally convivial occasions and are supplemented by several black tie dinners during the course of the year. The choir goes on regular national and international tours, most recently to Belgium and Iceland, generously subsidised by the College.
The choir sings Choral Evensong twice weekly throughout Full Term, on Sundays and Wednesdays. Each service is preceded by a 90 minute rehearsal. In addition to the regular services, there is a variety of other choral services in Chapel, the annual Commemoration of Benefactors service, a termly Sung Eucharist and the Advent Carol Service amongst them. The choir also sings grace in Hall for College Feasts and plays a prominent role in College Concerts. The Chapel organ was built in 1765 by Snetzler, rebuilt in 1895 by Hill and again in 1963 by Mander, and has mechanical action for the Great, Swell and half the Choir divisions.
There is a separate and earlier application process for those applying for Organ Scholarships with a deadline of 1st September. Application forms, audition dates and details of the University-run Organ Scholarships Open Day can be found on the University website.
The Director of Music, Dr Simon Jackson, is always happy to welcomes enquiries from potential organ scholars; please contact him with any questions or to arrange a visit.