St Mary Redcliffe Church Organ Scholarship

Scholarship information

The Organ Scholarship is open to undergraduates or postgraduates, not necessarily those intending to read for a degree in Music.

Normally the scholarship will be awarded triennially to a candidate with a strong interest in the musical and choral traditions of the Church of England. The award is renewable annually, normally for a maximum of three years. Renewal will be conditional on satisfactory academic progress and on the efficient performance of the duties listed below.

The appointment will be made in conjunction with the University Music Department and the church.


The current rate is £900, payable in two instalments (in January and June of each academic year). Occasional fees as a singer or deputy organist may be payable from time to time.

Method of application

Candidates for the Scholarship should apply for University entrance through the normal UCAS channels. 

In addition, you should complete a Scholarship application form.

Application forms are available from the Department of Music:

Telephone: +44 (0)117 331 4044


31 January of the year of proposed entry, eg 31 January 2015 to start studies in October 2015. 


The scholar would be responsible to the Vicar through the Director of Music. There is also an Assistant Organist who will work closely with the organ scholar. Duties would include playing the organ at some services, possible singing in the choir (if a counter-tenor, tenor or bass), and scope for training in the direction of the choir.

The duties would normally involve attendance at the choral services each Sunday and full rehearsals on Fridays.

Occasional duties at boys practices on Tuesdays 6.30-7.30pm and Girls Practices on Thursdays 4.15-5.45pm may be required from time to time.

The scholar would be expected to be on duty each week in term time. They would be expected to give an annual lunchtime organ recital.

Child protection

All adults who work with children in church are required to have CRB clearance and references. Details of the procedure will be given to the successful candidate who will be required to ‘sign up’ at Bristol Diocese Church House on Great George Street as soon as possible after their arrival in Bristol. The Director of Music and/or Child Protection officer will supply details of what needs to be done.

Further information

Informal enquiries about the position will also be welcomed by Andrew Kirk, Director of Music & Organist: 0117 929 1487 or email

Organ lessons

It is expected that the successful applicant will take their lessons with the tutor recommended by the university music department, if reading for a music degree.  It may be possible through the Friends of the Music funds at the church to provide extra occasional ‘consultation’ lessons with another organ teacher to enable the scholar to have experience in all fields of the organ repertoire, depending on his/her particular interests.

The Director of Music and Assistant Organists will also provide support and help in aspects of organ playing, including hymns, psalms, anthems, improvisation, transposition, registration and will provide guidance in service playing and help with organ repertoire.

The church, organ and choir

The Church of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol is one of the largest and most spectacular churches in the country, famed for its breath-taking mediaeval architecture and historical links with the city and port. It has for many years had a reputation for the high quality of its music.

The organ was built by Harrison and Harrison in 1911 with alterations and additions in 1932, 1947 and 1974. The organ underwent a comprehensive £800,000 restoration project in 2009/10. It is regarded as the finest organ of its kind with four manuals and 71 speaking stops and 4500 pipes covering the Pedal, Choir, Great, Swell, Echo and Solo organs. Our website has the complete specification:

The main choir consists of some 40 men and boys who are drawn from the greater Bristol area. There are weekly practices on Tuesdays(boys) and Fridays (full) with three principal Sunday services - 9.30am Sung Eucharist, 11.15am Choral Matins and 6.30pm Sung Evensong. The choirs also give occasional concerts and make annual visits to Cathedrals. There is also a Girls choir which sings monthly Thursday evening services at 5.30pm and occasionally on Sundays and for extra services. A voluntary choir covers the school holidays at half term, Christmas, Easter and in August.

Organs at the University

Prospective scholars will be interested in the following information about the four organs that are available at the University:

  • the Recital Room at the Music Department houses a fine, mechanical action 13-stop chamber organ, with two manuals and pedals, built by William Drake (1996).
  • the Auditorium at the Music Department houses a new three manual and pedal digital organ from the Veritas Organ Company, generously donated by its designer Graham Blyth (2011).
  • the University Great Hall in the Wills Memorial Building has a large three manual (four divisions) and pedal organ; it was built by Nicholsons in the 1960s but has since been modified and maintained by Harrisons of Durham.
  • the Chapel of Wills Hall recently acquired a beautiful two manual and pedal, mechanical action organ by Peter Collins.

Clearly, as an organ scholar, you will have free and regular access to the instrument in the church with which you are associated, but subject to the availability of rooms, every effort will be made to provide further practice facilities on the University organs listed above. Scholars who are Music students will of course have appropriate practice time for degree recitals at the University.

Further information

For music lists and other information about the church and its music, please visit:

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