Organ Scholarship, St Davids Cathedral

One year  •  Music Department

The Dean & Chapter of St Davids Cathedral wish to appoint an Organ Scholar for the academic year beginning in September 2018.

The scholarship is an exciting opportunity for a postgraduate or undergraduate organist who wishes to pursue a career as a church musician.
The Organ Scholar will be expected to play a full part in the musical life of the Cathedral.

The Organ Scholarship was set up in 2016. Previous holders of the scholarship have been appointed to organist’s positions at Ely Cathedral and Magdalen College, Oxford. The scholarship has been generously supported by the Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM), and also by an anonymous donor who wishes to further the performance of Tudor church music at the Cathedral. It is therefore important that the successful candidate has interest in this genre and is willing to spend an appropriate portion of time during his/her tenure studying, performing and promoting it.

The period of the appointment is usually for one year beginning in September 2018.
St Davids

The city St Davids is situated on the Welsh coast in the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast
National Park. It was given a Royal Charter by the Queen in 1995 which formally recognised its status as a city. It is surrounded by some of the finest coastline in Europe and offers an unrivalled range of outdoor activities including walking, rock climbing, surfing, swimming and hiking. As such it is an extremely popular tourist destination attracting around 400,000 visitors every year.

The Cathedral
The present building was begun in 1181-82. It is likely that it rests on the site of the monastery founded in the mid-6th century by David, patron saint of Wales, and as such represents the spiritual heart of Wales. Her Majesty the Queen is a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter.

The Cathedral provides a stunning setting for worship which has been offered here for 1400 years, within which the musical tradition of the cathedral is an essential and celebrated ingredient.
The great Tudor composer Thomas Tomkins was born in St Davids in 1572. He lived in thecathedral close and served as a chorister at the cathedral while his father was Organist and Master of the Choristers.

The Cathedral Organs
The cathedral’s main organ was built by Father Willis in 1883. In the year 2000 a major rebuild was completed by Harrison & Harrison and the instrument now has four manuals and 54 stops.
It is widely acknowledged as an outstanding instrument of great character and versatility.
There is a two manual 11-stop instrument in the Lady Chapel and the cathedral also houses a three-stop chamber organ by Kenneth Tickell owned by St Davids Cathedral Festival. The cathedral also has care of a Steinway model D piano and a recently restored Bechstein piano built in 1925

The Cathedral Choirs
The cathedral enjoys a reputation throughout Wales and the United Kingdom for the high standard of its music and liturgy. Through the commitment and dedication of its musicians, the amount and level of musical activity at the cathedral is out of all proportion to the modest size of the community. There are therefore many stimulating and challenging opportunities for a talented and passionate musician.

St Davids Cathedral is unique in the UK in that the top line of the cathedral choir is sung by girls aged 8–18. They are recruited from local primary and secondary schools. The ‘back row’ of the choir is made up of Vicars Choral (Lay Clerks) who work locally in a variety of occupations and up to three annually appointed Choral Scholars. In
addition, there are several regular Deputy Singers and a Junior Choral Scholar.

The Cathedral Boys’ Choir sings Evensong three times a fortnight. The Cathedral Junior Choir sings Evening Prayer twice a term.

The Cathedral Singers is an adult voluntary choir, directed by the Assistant Director of Music, and sings Evensong once a fortnight.

The pattern of choral services is as follows:
Monday Evensong 6pm Cathedral Singers & Choral Scholars
Tuesday Evensong 6pm Boys & Choral Scholars
Wednesday Evensong 6pm Cathedral Choir +
Thursday Evensong 6pm Cathedral Choir
Friday Evensong 6pm Boys, Lay Vicars & Choral Scholars #
Sunday Mattins* 11.15am Cathedral Choir
Evensong 6pm Cathedral Choir
+Girls only every second week / #ATB only every second week
*Choral Eucharist is celebrated on the 4th Sunday of the month and on feast days.

Rehearsals take place before all services and after evensong on Thursdays. The cathedral choir sings occasionally on a Saturday. This occurs during the annual Friends’ Festival and for Ordinations of which there are usually two per year. Several weddings per year also take place on a Saturday. The choirs sing for the duration of the academic term, with choir holidays taking place during school half terms, after Easter and after Christmas. The choir year usually ends in mid-July.

The choirs are in residence during Holy Week to Easter Day, and until after Matins
on Christmas Day. The annual St Davids Cathedral Music Festival usually takes place in May half-term week, after which the choir takes a week off.
In addition to the services mentioned above there is both a Welsh Eucharist and Parish
Eucharist which take place at 9.30am on Sundays.

Recordings, broadcasts & tours
The Cathedral Choir has made six CDs in the past ten years with Priory Records, Regent Records and York Ambisonic. The choir is regularly invited to broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and BBC television. The choir has toured Spain, Holland, Australia, Italy and the USA.
The Cathedral Choir made a tour of Northern France in 2016. In July 2018 they will tour the Netherlands, performing in Amsterdam, Delft and Rotterdam.

St Davids Cathedral Festival
The Festival takes place annually at the end of May attracting audiences and artists from all over the world. The Festival Chorus sings a large-scale oratorio each year: Mozart’s Requiem & Haydn’s Nelson Mass (2014), Handel’s Dixit Dominus & Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (2015), Mozart’s Mass in C minor (2016) and Verdi’s Requiem (2017).

They will perform Haydn’s Creation together with Cor Dyfed Choir in July 2018. The Cathedral Choir takes a leading role in the Festival and in recent years has performed with Tenebrae, The King’s Singers, British Sinfonietta, Charivari Agreable Sinfonie and Onyx Brass.

It has commissioned music by leading composers including Grayston Ives, Giles Swayne, Meirion Wynn Jones, Geraint Lewis, Paul Edwards, David Briggs, Neil Cox, Francis Grier, Matthew Martin, Howard Goodall, Paul Mealor and Robert Walker.

BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong is usually broadcast live from the Cathedral every year during the Festival.

The Music Department
Oliver Waterer Organist & Master of the Choristers
Simon Pearce Assistant Director of Music
Rupert Jackson Organ Scholar (2017-2018)
Heidi Tims Administrative Assistant (Volunteer)

The Dean & Precentor of St Davids, leads the work and ministry of the cathedral as a centre of worship and pilgrimage, and is responsible for the work of all the Cathedral Departments.

The Organ Scholar is responsible to the Organist and Master of the Choristers although some of his/her work will be directed and overseen by the Assistant Director of Music.

The Organ Scholar receives £4,000 per annum, payable monthly through the payroll, and tenable on an academic yearly basis. This is offered on the basis of a fixed term contract of one year. Up to a further £1,000 is available to pay for organ lessons and the associated travel expenses incurred. Some organ lessons should include the study of Tudor organ music with a teacher who has expertise in that area. Additional fees are payable for non-statutory duties, including weddings, funerals and some concerts.

The Organ Scholar is entitled to at least one day per week when he/she is free of any cathedral duties.

Shared accommodation is provided rent-free in a comfortable house in the Cathedral Close.
This is within walking distance of the Cathedral and the city. Electricity, heating, water, phone and WiFi services are paid for by the cathedral.

The Organ Scholar is responsible for:
 Taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by this placement;
 His/her own musical development, organisation and time planning;
 Behaving in a manner appropriate to the professional and pastoral nature of the role;
 Familiarity and compliance with all Cathedral policies, in particular the Safeguarding and Health & Safety Policies.

Further details from:

For further details Email:  
Tel: 01437 720202