For up to date information about Organ Awards, including how to apply, please see the main University page here.
A brief overview:
What is an Organ Scholar?
Organ Scholars are students (usually undergraduates) who direct or assist with the music in a college chapel. The nature and scope of the responsibilities varies from college to college. In addition to organ playing abilities, competence in choral direction and (to a lesser extent) administration are typically needed. In some colleges, the organ scholar may also act as an organizer of musical activities more generally.
Organ scholars take charge of, or assist with, the music of the college chapel. The scope of the responsibilities and the nature of the duties vary from college to college, but in most cases require competence as organist, choir trainer and (more modestly perhaps) administrator. In a number of colleges, the organ scholar also acts as an organizer of general musical activity. There is a modest fee paid, but in a number of colleges this is supplemented by additional payments for services rendered and by fees for special events. Many colleges also pay for organ tuition.
What Colleges offer Organ awards?
In all, there are 23 colleges in Oxford which offer organ awards.
They are: Balliol, Brasenose, Christ Church, Corpus Christi, Hertford, Exeter, Jesus, Keble, Lady Margaret Hall, Lincoln, Magdalen, Mansfield, Merton, New College, Oriel, Pembroke, Queen’s, St Edmund Hall, St Peter’s College, Somerville, Trinity, University, and Worcester College.
The colleges may be grouped into two basic categories:-
First, there are those where the organ scholar is in charge of chapel music. These are Balliol, Corpus Christi, Exeter, Hertford, Jesus, Lincoln, Pembroke and Trinity Colleges. The duties here range from one to three services per week.
Secondly, there are those where the organ scholar assists a professional Director of Music. These are Brasenose, Christ Church, Keble, Lady Margaret Hall, Magdalen, Mansfield, Merton, New, Oriel, Queen’s, Somerville, St Edmund Hall, St Peter’s, University and Worcester Colleges. In this second group, the range of commitment varies widely from two services a week to nearly daily commitment at the Choral Foundations (Christ Church, Magdalen, and New Colleges).
You are advised to consult college websites or contact college Directors of Music and Chaplains to find out full details of the commitment required of organ scholars in different colleges.
How do I apply?
Full information about Organ Awards and about the application process for them can be found at: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/choral-and-organ-awards/organ-awards