FAQs

Am I right for King’s?

How do I know if I’m the right standard to be a King’s Organ Scholar?

Most candidates will be of ARCO standard or above, but it’s best to come to play to Stephen Cleobury who will advise you.

Do I need to be a good conductor as well?

Not many candidates will have had significant experience in this area. Most important is the cultivation of good aural skills.

Is King’s right for me?

What is King’s like?

King’s is a relaxed, tolerant and informal community, in which all views are respected. It has excellent music resources, including the renowned Rowe music library; the College owns a number of fine grand pianos, a chamber organ and a practice tracker-action organ, and an excellent harpsichord; and, of course, we offer one of the finest organs in the world.

What performing opportunities do King’s Organ Scholars currently get?

In addition to the daily services in term time, the Choir has a busy concert schedule that includes international tours. Choir concerts tend to have an organ solo in each half of the programme; if concerts include a larger work such as an oratorio, the Organ Scholars often play continuo. Organ Scholars give a recital in Chapel each term, broadcast online to thousands of listeners, and are often invited to perform in Cambridge and elsewhere. King’s Organ Scholars are also offered the opportunity before they leave to record a solo recital programme for release on the King’s College label.

Applying for an organ scholarship

How do I apply?

See our step-by-step instructions [link] for applying to King's as a Choral Scholar. Don't forget that the Choir's director, Stephen Cleobury, is always happy to hear from those considering organ scholarships at King's. See How to apply.

Who can I contact to ask questions about the application process?

What subjects can I apply for with an organ scholarship?

All subjects are compatible with an Organ Scholarship at King's, with the exception of Medicine and Architecture.

Where can I find when organ scholarship vacancies arise?

Contact the Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, who can advise you further, and who can answer any other questions that you may have.

Can I/Should I take a gap year?

There is no requirement either way regarding gap years; some organ scholars at King’s have taken gap years, part of which they used to further their playing before coming to King’s. It is important to consider how your gap year will prepare you both for your subject course and an organ scholarship at King’s, and you may find it a topic of conversation as part of the interview and audition process.

How can I best prepare for the audition?

You are required to play one of the four Bach Trio movements and one other piece of your choice. It’s best to play something that shows a different set of skills from the Trio and has a contrasting character. Your chosen piece is played on the King’s organ, unlike the Bach, which is usually played on a smaller ‘classical’ instrument in one of the other college chapels, so you might like to consider what repertoire makes good use of the instrument. Other examinations, such as RCO diplomas, require keyboard tests similar to those at the organ scholarship auditions, and they are a good source of experience.

Life after King’s

Where do organ scholars continue their musical life after King’s?

Past organ scholars have chosen a great variety of careers. Some have become conductors, some organ recitalists, some cathedral and collegiate directors of music. Composing, piano-playing, teaching: there are many possibilities.

What if becoming a professional musician isn’t for me?

The possession of a degree in music, or in another discipline, coupled with the unique experience gained as an organ scholar, will stand you in good stead in many non-musical contexts.

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