Organ Scholarships

The Organ Scholarship at Guildford Cathedral provides a perfect opportunity for a gap-year or postgraduate organist to develop his/her musical skills in the unique environment of one of Britain's youngest and most dynamic Cathedrals.

The Organ Scholar at Guildford is a very important member of a busy and friendly music department. You will have many opportunities to accompany choral services, and share in Cathedral music-making of a high standard. In addition, there are opportunities for individual work with probationer choristers, a Yr 2 choir at Lanesborough Pre-Prep School, administrative experience and organ lessons. This post will both immerse you in Cathedral life and allow you to develop your musical portfolio. It is an ideal opportunity for a talented, energetic and capable musician.

Katherine Dienes-Williams, Organist and Master of the Choristers

Application details for the following academic year's organ scholarship appear in the autumn each year. The organ scholar for 2017-18 is Matthew Kelley. For further details, please email the Sub Organist at suborganist@guildford-cathedral.org.

The Organ Scholarship at Guildford Cathedral is like no other gap-year. You certainly will never find yourself sitting around with nothing to do. As well as accompanying both the girls' and boys' choirs regularly, you will be immersed in every aspect of the day-to-day running of the Cathedral.

The Organ Scholar is a full member of the Cathedral's busy Music Department. You will:

  • train the probationer choristers in singing and theory, accompany Evensongs, and step in to play whenever one of the other organists is away.
  • have many chances to take boys' and girls' rehearsals and conduct for services
  • gain experience of working with school children, helping out in the Music Department of Lanesborough, Guildford Cathedral's Choir School, taking rehearsals and accompanying ABRSM exams.
  • act as Choir Librarian. This involves preparing the music for the next week and repairing damaged music. This part of the job can be quite daunting - making sure all choir-members have music for three services on a Sunday - but it is also a great challenge and really helps to develop organisational skills.
  • accompanies the Guildford Cathedral Singers' rehearsals and services up to 13 times a year

Aside from the Cathedral itself, perhaps the best thing about Guildford is its location. London is only a thirty-five minute train ride away, and it only takes a short drive to get to the beautiful North Downs. Surrey is also lucky enough to have a thriving arts scene, with famous choral societies, two theatres and GLive, a state-of-the-art entertainment and concert hall.

Although the Scholarship at Guildford involves a lot of hard work, you get to work in a supportive, light-hearted environment with friendly colleagues, expert musicians and a professional choir.

Recent Organ Scholars and where they are now

  • 2006-07: David Stevens - Master of the Choristers, Belfast Cathedral
  • 2007-08: Alex Woodrow - Head of Choral Music at Solihull School
  • 2008-09: Alex Berry - Organist and Director of Music, Bradford Cathedral
  • 2009-10: Simon Earl - Director of Music at Christchurch Priory
  • 2010-11: Ghislaine Reece-Trapp - freelance teacher and organist
  • 2011-12: Dorothea Harris - Bezirkskantorin at Evangelischer Kirchenkreis, Kaufungen, Germany
  • 2012-14: Graham Thorpe - Royal College of Music - Masters student, Organ Scholar, the London Oratory
  • 2014-15: Gillian McNaughton - University of Melbourne, Australia, Organ Scholar, Trinity College Chapel
  • 2016-17: Katy Silverman - Royal College of Music - Masters student