Clare College Cambridge

Choral and Organ Scholarships

The Choir of Clare College website


For queries concerning the assessment process for Choral Awards, please contacts the Co-ordinators, Peter Foggitt ( and Louisa Denby (


A Choral or Organ Scholarship at Clare offers enormous opportunities to develop an individual’s singing or organ playing, to learn a wide variety of music, to make recordings and to travel. The following notes describe what is involved in holding these scholarships, and how to apply for them.


A Choral or Organ Scholarship may last up to three years. Only in exceptional circumstances (eg, if academic pressure necessitates it) will a scholar relinquish the award.


There are 3 regular services: Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday – Choral Evensong

Additionally, Choral Compline is sung twice a term and there is usually at least one Choral Eucharist. Extra services, such as Advent Carol services, All Souls and Ash Wednesday Vigils, weddings, funerals, memorial services etc., occur once or twice a term.

Except in special circumstances, members of the Choir sing all services.


On average five hours a week, plus extra rehearsals in preparation for special events. Choral and Organ Scholars attend all rehearsals, except in exceptional circumstances.

Additional commitments

Concerts, recordings, tours, visits to college livings, etc., take place regularly throughout the year. Choir members can expect to give up some time each vacation (two weeks or so at Christmas, a week or so at Easter and about three weeks in the summer, usually in late June/early July or September). Occasional visits are made during term, which may involve missing some lectures and the rearrangement of supervisions. Notice is always given far in advance of such events.

Singing lessons

Singing lessons are provided, free of charge to both Choral and Organ Scholars, by a number of visiting teachers.

Support to general College music

Choral and Organ Scholars are required to play a full part in College music. In particular, they are expected to support the Clare College Music Society which gives two or three performances per year.


On average a Choral Scholar may expect to put in up to nine or ten hours per week during term, and extra in a week where there is a major concert or recording. The Organ Scholar, bearing in mind the number of accompaniments and solo repertoire that must be learnt, may expect to spend further time on his/her duties.


Choral Scholarships are worth £100 per annum, Organ Scholarships £450, with free singing and organ lessons. Tour costs are covered by the Choir and per diems are provided.


Applying for a Choral Scholarship

Information from the University


The 2021 Choral Trials will take place online. The application form and other information is available via the link above.

Key dates in 2021 are:
 15 February 2021: Choral Awards application deadline
 10 March 2021: Deadline for submission of pre-recorded own-choice piece
 22-24 March 2021: Choral Trials (online)
 24 April 2021: Choral Open Day (online)

For the 2022 Choral Trials onwards:

Choral Scholarship auditions are held over a period of two or three days (Clare will provide overnight accommodation if necessary). The tests consist of vocal and ear tests, sight reading and the performance of one prepared piece, which should if possible be sacred (though not necessarily liturgical) in nature. An accompanist will be provided, with whom there will be an opportunity to have a preliminary rehearsal. A good ear, ability to sing in tune, a ‘true’ voice with the potential for blend, good sight-reading and genuine motivation, are all qualities which will be tested. At Clare College, offer holders in all subjects are welcome to apply for Choral Scholarships. At the Choral Trials candidates can apply for a Choral Award or a volunteer choral position.

1. Open Days for Vocal Guidance

As announced on the University web-site [] there will be no Open Day in September 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the September 2021 Open Day, we hope that there will be an opportunity for prospective candidates to visit Cambridge and obtain advice before applying to the University by 15th October. The Directors of Music at certain Colleges will be available to hear you sing and will offer informal guidance intended to assist you in selecting the College to which you choose to apply, but it must be understood that the guidance offered is neither binding nor does it constitute an offer of a place in a College or a guarantee of a choral award.

During your visit you may sing to more than one Director of Music, and every effort will be made to co-ordinate timings between Colleges, but you are advised to contact no more than four colleges at most in order to avoid complicated timetabling issues.

Any general queries concerning the Open Days should be sent to the Co-ordinators of the Inter-Collegiate Competition Peter Foggitt ( and Louisa Denby (

2. Early October: Apply for an academic place at Clare College

Choral candidates follow the normal application procedure (deadline October 15th for application through UCAS). On the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) there will be a box to tick to express an interest in a Choral Scholarship should you be offered a place.

3. December: Interviews in Cambridge

Most applicants are invited for interview. Only those whose applications seem highly unlikely to be successful on academic grounds will not have their application taken any further at this stage.

4. January-March: Academic decisions and choral auditions

Students who do not receive an academic offer from Cambridge cannot be considered for a Choral Scholarship. Offer-holders who ticked the box expressing an interest in a Choral Scholarship will automatically be invited to audition. Audition dates (sometime between late January and late March, but mainly in mid-March) will be advertised after all academic offers have been made. Students who are offered a place to study at Clare College but are not successful in gaining a Choral Scholarship at Clare will be able to audition for a Choral award at another College. If possible, and where it is seen to be in the interests of the student, an offer of a Choral award from another College will be accompanied by an academic offer transferred from Clare College; no further interviews will take place.


Applying for an Organ Scholarship

Information from the University

The deadline for Organ Scholarship applications is Wednesday 1 September, for entry in 2022 or deferred entry in 2023. Please note that this is well before the normal deadline for application to Cambridge.

Organ Scholarship trials involve the playing of a set piece, a second piece (own choice), a sight- reading test, transposition of a hymn, ear tests, the conducting of a short choir practice, and some accompanying tests.


Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Organ and Choral Scholarships Open Days 2021

A Choral Open Day is taking place online on Saturday 24 April 2021. To find out more information about this and other future events, please contact the relevant Co-ordinators:

Organ Scholarships -
Choral Awards - Peter Foggitt ( and Louisa Denby (

Instrumental Awards

Instrumental awards are also available; click here for further details


Precise details about the applications process for those wishing to apply for these awards can be found in the university website.

Further information about the Music Awards, may be obtained from the Director of Music, Mr Graham Ross, Clare College, Cambridge CB2 1TL e-mail: