Bristol Cathedral Organ Scholarship

General information

Through the generosity of the St Thomas Trust, it has been possible to establish an organ scholarship, tenable at the Cathedral, and open to undergraduates at the University, not necessarily those reading for a degree in Music.

Normally the scholarship will be awarded annually to a candidate who must have an understanding of the liturgical and musical traditions of the Church of England. The award will be renewable annually for a maximum of three years. Renewal will be conditional on satisfactory academic progress and on the efficient performance of the duties listed below.

The St Thomas Organ Scholar will be nominated by the Professor of Music or his representative and the Director of Music and the appointment approved by the Dean and Chapter and by the University of Bristol. The scholar will be responsible to the Precentor under the direction of the Director of Music.

Method of application

Candidates for the Scholarship should apply for University entrance through the normal UCAS channels. 

In addition, you should complete a Scholarship application form.

Application forms are available from the Department of Music:

Telephone: +44 (0)117 331 4044


31 January of the year of proposed entry, eg 31 January 2020 to start studies in October 2020. 


To play for rehearsals and services as required by the Dean and Chapter under the direction of the Director of Music. The duties will normally include playing for Evensong on Tuesday, Wednesday and either Thursday or Friday and perhaps attendance at weekends, though this is subject to negotiation. The scholar will have limited access to the Cathedral organ for practice.

The scholar will be expected to be in residence outside University teaching blocks.

Music at the Cathedral

The current pattern of regular choral services is:

  • Weekdays: Evensong 5.15 pm 
  • Saturday: Evensong 3.30 pm
  • Sunday:
    • Choral Eucharist 10 am
    • Evensong 3.30 pm.

The Cathedral Choir consists of two separate treble choirs, one of 16 boys and one of 16 girl choristers.  There is also a voluntary mixed voice Consort.  In addition there are six Lay Clerks and four Choral Scholars.

Organs at the University

Prospective scholars will be interested in the following information about the four organs that are available at the University:

  • the Recital Room at the Music Department houses a fine, mechanical action 13-stop chamber organ, with two manuals and pedals, built by William Drake (1996).
  • the Auditorium at the Music Department houses a new three manual and pedal digital organ from the Veritas Organ Company, generously donated by its designer Graham Blyth (2011).
  • the University Great Hall in the Wills Memorial Building has a large three manual (four divisions) and pedal organ; it was built by Nicholsons in the 1960s but has since been modified and maintained by Harrisons of Durham.
  • the Chapel of Wills Hall recently acquired a beautiful two manual and pedal, mechanical action organ by Peter Collins.

Clearly, as an organ scholar, you will have free and regular access to the instrument in the church with which you are associated, but subject to the availability of rooms, every effort will be made to provide further practice facilities on the University organs listed above. Scholars who are Music students will of course have appropriate practice time for degree recitals at the University.

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