- Name: Trojan
- Voice: Bass
- Subject: Music
- Year: 2nd
- School: Eton College
- Gap Year: No
Why did you want a choral scholarship?
I have always enjoyed singing, and it’s especially good fun when you’re with a group of people who share the same interests.
Why did you choose King’s?
Aside from the international reputation of the chapel and choir, for me the greatest appeal was being able to participate in an extraordinarily high level of music-making every day. Just being in such a historic chapel forces you to demand the most of yourself and it’s extremely rewarding.
For music there’s nowhere better! The amount of student-led projects is simply amazing and the level of teaching is unrivalled.
What experience did you have before joining the Choir?
I started my music career as a chorister at Westminster Abbey before moving on to focus more instrumentally, but starting singing properly again in the last few years with my senior school choir.
How did you find the application process?
I’d heard that university applications were stressful, but I was pretty clear that I wanted to come to King’s so that took a lot of confusion out of the process.
How did you find the auditions?
The time leading up to the auditions and results was certainly more stressful than the day itself. When I got to the audition, Stephen was the only person there except the organ scholar and they were both very understanding and friendly. They want you to do your best too!
Do you have to give up a lot of time for Choir?
We do have to give up a considerable amount of time up for the choir – about 2 hours on weekdays except Monday and 3-4 hours on weekends – but it certainly doesn’t stop us from doing other things.
Does it affect your work?
Luckily for me, one of my first-year papers is on plainchant, and renaissance polyphony, so choir is just extra revision time… There is very little, if any, clash between choir and academic commitments. In fact, if the Choir were a college in itself, it would currently lead the Cambridge college academic rankings!
…and your social life?
Of course we get to know each other extremely well since we spend basically every day together, but there’s always plenty of time to meet up with other friends inside and outside of college.
What’s the music like? Do you have to sight-read a lot?
There’s a huge range of repertoire. One thing I particularly love is the plainchant we do for Eucharist, although it takes a switch of mindset to read the old neumes. You shouldn’t worry too much about having to sight-read on the spot since we get told all the term’s music in advance.
Do you get paid?
We get paid for all our concerts, broadcasts and recordings with the choir as well as gigs with the King’s Men, the choral scholars’ a cappella group. One big treat is being paid to go on tours!
What’s the best thing about singing at King’s?
Our regular choir slot provides a welcome break from the academic stresses of Cambridge. Although it’s certainly a lot of work, simply spending time in the chapel and creating music with friends is always something to look forward to at the end of the day.
…and the worst?
Those rare occasions when I’ve been lazy and really needed that extra two hours to finish an essay…
What other music do you do at Cambridge other than Choir?
I’m Music Director of the Cambridge University String Ensemble and regularly conduct for King’s College Musical Society (KCMS). As KCMS Concerts Manager, I’m involved in organising events throughout the year. I also read Music, so most of my life revolves around that!
Do you have time for anything else?
As a keen linguist, I have been studying Italian with the Cambridge University Language Programme (CULP) for the past year and was awarded a travel grant to Italy for an intensive language course this summer.
What have you gained from the choral scholarship?
The level of musicianship Stephen demands of his choral scholars is extraordinary, and it has already taught me a lot about performing as part of an ensemble. On a more practical note, it’s quite nice having a piano in your room for spontaneous renditions of Winterreise with your friends.