A Unique Opportunity

Ely offers a unique environment for young organists to develop their skills. There is a vibrant choral tradition in the school, and the Cathedral Choir, which sings Evensong daily, has an international reputation. Cambridge, with its unparalleled organ and choral tradition, is only 15 miles away and its links with Ely are strong. The Organ Scholar will have access to a wealth of music-making in a highly professional framework, and to tuition and guidance from respected and experienced professional organists and choir directors. Only a handful of schools are able to offer this level of training and experience to Sixth Form students. This outstanding opportunity is designed for a young organist seeking to apply for a university Organ Scholarship or conservatoire course, and acts as preparation for a gap-year Cathedral post. Former Ely Organ Scholars have gone on to successful careers as professional musicians, most recently as Organ Scholar of King’s and Girton Colleges in Cambridge.

About the Position

As part of the Scholarship, the Organ Scholar can expect to practise and perform on the cathedral’s fine four-manual, 80-stop Harrison and Harrison instrument. The school also possesses two digital practice organs to which the Organ Scholar will have substantial access. The scholar will receive lessons in organ repertoire (both solo and accompanied), keyboard skills, conducting, piano technique, singing, Music Theory up to Grade 8, and RCO diploma examinations. Specific duties will be assigned to the Organ Scholar according to his/her individual skills, but he/she can expect to play during cathedral services at least once a week, increasing to complete services as and when appropriate.

Eligibility and Availability

The Scholarship is tenable for two years. Year 11 applicants should be at approximately ABRSM grade 7 level on the organ, and ideally should have some experience with accompaniment. They should have excellent predicted grades at GCSE. Boarding is available but not compulsory.

The application deadline is in October, at the end of the first half of the Michaelmas Term, and auditions for Year 11 students will be held in Ely, during the Lent Term. In the audition, candidates will be asked to play two pieces, one by Bach, and one contrasting work. Tests will also be given in transposition, score-reading, and quick-study skills. Interviews and written academic assessments will also form part of the process.

There is one place available at any one time. The Organ Scholar receives 50% off the relevant day or boarding fees, and organ, theory, conducting, and singing lessons will be provided free of charge. Further means-tested bursaries are available in cases of particular need.

More Information

Full details can be found in the information pack below.

Download information pack

Download application form

For further information please contact the Director of Music at King’s Ely:
Neil Porter-Thaw (NeilPorter-Thaw@kingsely.org).