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Choral & Organ Scholarships at Portsmouth Cathedral

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Portsmouth Cathedral Choir

Portsmouth Cathedral Choir comprises 24 boy choristers and 12 gentlemen who contribute to the pattern of daily cathedral worship. Opportunities exist for counter-tenor, tenor, or basses who, having completed their school or university education, are looking for the chance to sing and work within a cathedral foundation for a year.

Our relationship with Portsmouth Grammar School

Portsmouth Grammar School can be found at the other end of Old Portsmouth’s high street. It’s one of the country’s leading independent co-educational day schools, and enjoys a national reputation for the fine quality of its educational provision.

The cathedral and school enjoy a close relationship — not least because most of the cathedral choristers are educated at the school. Portsmouth Grammar School is a member of the Choir Schools’ Association.

The London Mozart Players are Associate Musicians of the school, and there would be opportunities for successful candidates to liaise with them. Previous gap year students have been part of a team managing the annual Portsmouth Festivities.

Gap year scholarship opportunities

Via this initiative, Portsmouth Cathedral and Portsmouth Grammar School are looking to appoint a number of gap year students every September, to the positions of Choral Scholars in the cathedral choir and Departmental Assistants at the grammar school, plus an Organ Scholarship.

The scholarships run from the beginning of September ‘til the Sunday after school term ends in the summer (usually around 15th July), and include Christmas and Easter. Over the past few years, choral scholars have moved on to places such as St. John’s, Girton & Jesus Colleges, Cambridge, Christ Church & New Colleges, Oxford, and Durham University.

Former scholars include the likes of Gabriel Vick (who recently appeared in musicals AvenueQ and Cabaret in the West End, and most recently in the film Les Miserables) and Simon Wall (Montverdi Choir).

The choral work involves singing at the six choral services each week, as well as their associated rehearsals. A Choral Scholar will be expected to be a good sight-reader, as the repertoire of the choir is wide and varied, and rehearsal time is limited.

The work at Portsmouth Grammar School can be tailored to the strengths of the successful candidate, though it’s likely that some knowledge of using computers would be particularly valued. The cathedral choral scholarships are worth £3,000, and the school post £8,500. We provide accommodation in cathedral property at below commercial rent.

Michael James Organ Scholarship

This post is held jointly between Portsmouth Cathedral and Portsmouth Grammar School. There are at least two cathedral services for the organ scholar to play every week — often Monday Men’s Voices Evensong and all or part of another weekday service.

Often, there will be more. We involve the organ scholar in the training of the boy choristers too. At school, there are a number of services to play for.

The organ scholar normally works in the school music department office too. The cathedral organ scholarship is worth £1,500, and the school post £8,500. We provide accommodation in cathedral property at below commercial rent. Recent Organ Scholars have moved on to University Organ Scholarships, Canterbury Cathedral, and St. David’s Cathedral.

The Portsmouth experience involves the opportunity to be a part of a small community of broad music-making which, in addition to the Cathedral, includes Portsmouth Grammar School and a good deal of freelance work, particularly as part of StopGap, the scholars’ close harmony group.

Plus, the city of Portsmouth is a place of life and diversity — there’s plenty here to ensure a gap year full of variety and fun!

This year’s scholars are moving on to opportunities at York Minster, Gloucester Cathedral, Trinity College of Music, London, and Warwick University.

Contact us about our scholarship opportunities

If you would like further details about these posts for 2019 to 2020 or later, please contact the Cathedral Organist at the address below. You may wish to send a full CV with the names of two referees at this stage to support your application.

All appointments will be subject to an Enhanced DBS Check and satisfactory written references.

David Price – Organist and Master of the Choristers
The Music Office,
Portsmouth Cathedral,
St Thomas’s Street,
Old PortsmouthPO12HA

Phone: 023 9282 3300 
Email :