Salisbury Cathedral Organ Scholarship
Organ Scholarship available for the Academic year 2014 - 2015
An ideal opportunity for a gap-year or postgraduate student to experience all aspects of cathedral music in a unique setting.
Closing date for applications: Monday 16 September 2013
Audition date: Friday 4 October 2013
Details and an application form can be downloaded here.
David Halls, the Cathedral's Director of Music, writes:
"The organ scholar is a full and important member of a friendly team who will see at first hand cathedral music making of the highest quality. Whether or not you are considering a career in church music, this is a wonderful opportunity for a talented, hard working and organised young musician. If you would like to discuss at further length what the position involves please telephone me on: 01722 555 125."
Josh Hales, Organ Scholar 2012-2013, describes his experiences
Salisbury Cathedral's organ scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for any young organist who is keen to gain first-hand experience of the musical life of a great English cathedral. The organ scholar is a full-time member of the music department and has an important role to play in the weekly schedule. At the centre of the organ scholar's duties is the accompaniment of a minimum of two choral services per week. The regularity of playing psalms, accompaniments and voluntaries on the cathedral organ ensures that the organ scholar receives thorough training in these crucial skills. As well as the weekly services (and as there are nine choral services in total each week, the scholar often plays for more than two) the organ scholar is expected to share in the accompaniment of concerts and extra services.
Unlike many cathedral organ scholarships, there are regular opportunities to work with the choristers in rehearsal. In 1991, Salisbury became the first English cathedral to establish a line of girl choristers, and today the girl and boy choristers divide the services equally between them. As such there are nearly always two chorister rehearsals happening at the same time in the mornings, and the organ scholar takes at least one of these a week. Organ scholars interested in conducting are encouraged to conduct services with the full cathedral choir, and the organ scholar always plays a part in conducting one of the two choirs at two of the most high-profile services of the year, the famous Advent "Darkness to Light" service and the main Christmas carol service. The value of all this in terms of experience cannot be overestimated, as the ability to work with adults and children in a choir-training capacity is central to any organist considering a career in church and cathedral music.
Another important aspect of the organ scholar's duties is the close working relationship with the cathedral school. The scholar is responsible for supervising daily music practice at the school as well as helping out with some of the school's musical ensembles such as the wind band. Along with both the cathedral and the school music departments, the scholar also assists with weekly chorister theory lessons. These activities enable the scholar to gain a wider experience of the musical education of children and the workings of a prep school music department. The school also provides the organ scholar with free food at all meal times, which is useful not only for sustenance but also for getting involved in the social life of the school.
Salisbury's famous Willis organ is a delight to play, and a wonderful example of an English Romantic cathedral organ. It is equally at home as an accompaniment and solo instrument, and the organ scholar has the opportunity to play it in a solo capacity at the Jenkinson Organ Recital which is traditionally given by the scholar, as well as having innumerable opportunities to play voluntaries throughout the year. The Salisbury Cathedral Organ Scholarship would be a brilliant use of a year for any young organist who wishes to develop their musical and professional skills to a high level in an inspiring and supportive environment.