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Choral and Organ entrance scholarships guidance notes


We offer a number of Choral Scholarships each year and an Organ Scholarship most years. It is not necessary for either Choral or Organ Scholars to read for degrees in Music. Applications will also be considered from postgraduate students. The scholarships are normally held for three years; the maximum award is £1,500 per annum (organ) and £700 per annum (choral).

Choral Scholars form the College Chapel Choir, an ensemble of usually 24 singers, which undertakes a regular routine of services as well as representing the College further afield through concerts, broadcasts, recordings, and tours. In the last few years the choir has made numerous recordings for Hyperion, Naxos and Signum Records, and is broadcast regularly by radio stations around the world. Both concerts and Choral Evensong are regularly broadcast by BBC Radio 3.

The choir also works with a variety of orchestras, ensembles and conductors includingthe Britten Sinfonia, the City of London Sinfonia, the London Mozart Players and specialist early music groups including Florilegium and the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble. At least one foreign tour is undertaken each year with recent destinations including China, the USA and the Baltic states.

The choir also deputises for cathedral choirs and regularly sings at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, St. George’s, Windsor Castle, as well as other British cathedrals. Candidates are advised to refer to www.chapelchoir.co.uk to get a good impression of the degree of activity undertaken by the choir and the musical standard attained."

For singers

Choral scholarships are generously funded by Banco Santander as a part of the Santander Universities Scheme. Each year Royal Holloway offers a number of Choral Scholarships on each voice part. Countertenors and contraltos are equally welcome.

Scholarships are normally held for three years and the maximum award is £700 per annum (choral). Singing lessons are provided where there is not already provision from within the degree programme.

The normal routine for choral scholars involves an evening rehearsal on Tuesday, a short morning service on Wednesday (8.45-9am) together with an afternoon rehearsal and a short lunchtime concert. On Thursday there is a choral Evensong according to the Book of Common Prayer. The choir also sings either an Anglican service or Catholic Mass on a Sunday evening although usually only on 2 out of 3 weekends.

There are no services on a Sunday morning and Choral Scholars are free to pursue other professional work in London at that time subject to consultation with the Director of Choral Music. It is preferred, but not essential, for potential Choral Scholars to have had relevant experience in church singing. Good sight-reading skills are essential.

For organists

Organ scholarships are normally held for three years and there is one available most years. The maximum award is £1,500 per annum. As there are many regular services in the Chapel, organ scholars will have ample opportunities to play and will be encouraged to conduct the choirs.

Assistance will be given in the preparation of accompaniments where required and organ scholars will be provided with recital opportunities. The chapel contains a 3-manual organ built by Harrison and Harrison in 1978 which is a remarkably diverse instrument voiced in a largely French style.

There is also a new 3.5 stop continue organ built by Dutch organ builder Henk Klop and a new Kawai grand piano. There is also a 2-manual electronic instrument available for practice. The College is also the first UK University to be accredited by Steinway grand pianos on campus.

Terms and conditions


  1. Applications for Choral and Organ Scholarships are currently being invited from candidates seeking entry to the College in September 2016.
  2. The number of scholarships will be determined by the quality of the candidates selected for interview and audition at the College.
  3. For Choral Scholars, the audition consists of the performance of two contrasting songs (of the candidate's own choice), sight-singing, and aural tests, lasting approximately 30 minutes.        
  4. For Organ Scholars, the audition will consist of the performance of two contrasting works (of the candidate's own choice), sight-reading, score-reading, accompaniment of a hymn and a psalm, and improvisation, lasting approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Choral Scholars will be expected to attend all choir practices and services; they will also be expected to give general help with choir arrangements.
  6. Organ Scholars will be expected to give general help with services, to deputise for the Director of Choral Music when needed, and to assist with organ recitals, and other programmes of music given in the Chapel.
  7. Some events such as recordings and concerts will be scheduled outside of academic term time and it is expected that all scholars will be available, if required, for these events. Where possible, expenses for all of these events will be met.
  8. Candidates who wish to compete for these scholarships must submit an entry form direct to the College in addition to making an application for their chosen degree course through UCAS Award of the scholarships will be conditional upon the candidates satisfying the University of London's entrance requirements and those of the College. A testimonial should be sent under separate cover by the Director of Music of the candidate's school (or other person qualified to judge the musical ability of the candidate) to be received by the Choral Music Administrator in the Music Department by the same date.
  9. All application forms will be scrutinised by the Director of Choral Music and, on the strength of the candidate's experience and references, suitably qualified applicants will be invited to attend an audition. Successful candidates will be allocated an audition time and contacted by the Choral Music Administrator.



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