Organ Scholarships

Prospective and current students are able to apply to become Organ Scholars with Durham Cathedral Choir, working alongside the Music Department. This scholarship is supported by the Durham Cathedral Choir Association.

What is a Organ Scholar?

This scholarship presents a golden opportunity for a skilled player who wishes to share in the life of a happy Christian community and to develop organ-playing and choir-training skills at a high level.

The Organ Scholar assists the Organist and Sub-Organist, taking a share of service playing (around once a week) and assisting with the training of the probationer choristers at three of their rehearsals each week. They also help to supervise chorister theory. These duties will likely grow as the post-holder develops.

The Organ Scholar’s duties run from the beginning of the Michaelmas term through to the second Sunday in July, including Christmas and Easter days.

In an Organ Scholar, we are looking for someone who has a strong background in organ playing (at ARCO level or equivalent), experience of accompanying a choir or vocal group, strong sight-reading ability and is able to work well in a team. They should be a confident performer, both as a soloist and with a choir.

As well as rehearsing and singing with the Choir, the Organ Scholar helps with supervising probationer rehearsals and with chorister recruitment, so we are looking for someone who is suitable for working with children. The post is subject to an Enhanced DBS with Children barred list check and safeguarding training is provided. They are also added to the Single Central Register at Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation.

Who can apply?

Current and prospective students on university courses can apply for an Organ Scholarship – you must have a place in full time university studies to receive the Scholarship.

It is not usually possible to combine the duties of an Organ Scholar with certain academic subjects that involve laboratory work (e.g. the sciences and some social sciences), due to timetabling clashes. Please contact us before applying if you think this might affect you.

How long do Organ Scholarships last?

The current appointment is for the 2023-2024 academic year only. Should the Chapter be in a position to offer an Organ Scholarship again in subsequent years, the post would be advertised again, though the present holder would be welcome to reapply.

When do applications open?

The Organ Scholarship is currently filled – please check back again for further vacancies.

How do I apply?

You can read the role description and application form below for reference however, please not the Organ Scholarship is currently filled – please check back again for further vacancies.

What would happen next?

If you are shortlisted for an audition, you will be asked to prepare two pieces (one Baroque contrapuntal and one contrasting) lasting around twelve minutes. You will also play a set accompaniment (details to be given to the selected candidates) and perform keyboard-skills tests broadly at ARCO level – sight reading, score reading, transposition and improvisation, as well as an interview with the organists. Further details will be provided.

Do you have Choral Scholarships?

Yes, you can find out more on Choral Scholarships here, however please note that the current positions are filled.

Further questions

If you have another question that is not answered here, please contact the music team directly at