The Organ Scholars are in charge of the Chapel’s music in collaboration with the Dean. The College has a strong musical tradition and in the absence of a Director of Music, the Organ Scholars also play an active role in leading and shaping the musical life of the College. We aim to have two Organ Scholars at any one time. Appointments are therefore normally made two years out of every three, with alternating one and two year overlaps between successive appointments which are made 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.
The duties of the Organ Scholars involve rehearsing, conducting and accompanying the choir as necessary. The choir sings Choral Evensong twice weekly throughout Full Term, on Sundays and Fridays. 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. Stops labelled S below contain original Snetzler pipework.
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 under the musical direction of its Organ Scholars and these have been generously subsidised by Peterhouse.
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.
Potential applicants are encouraged to address preliminary enquiries to the Organ Scholars and are always welcome to attend a Peterhouse service or rehearsal; alternatively you can contact the Dean, Revd Dr Stephen Hampton.