For many years the Royal Hospital has encouraged the talent of young musicians.To formalise this policy and to mark the new Millennium, an Organ Scholarship was established in 1999. This has since proved a successful way of developing students' practical skills in church music and allowing access to professional standards at an early stage in their career. It is a unique opportunity to work for a year as an assistant to the organist and director of music and to be accommodated on-site in central London.

The Organ in the Wren Chapel

Past Organ Scholars, most of whom are all now pursuing successful musical careers are:

  • Michael Cayton (1999)
  • James Duddle (2000)
  • Noel Charles (2001)
  • Gabriele Damiani (2002)
  • Jonathan Bunney (2003)
  • Lewis Brito-Babapulle (2004)
  • Timothy Wakerell (2005)
  • Stephen Moore (2006, 2007)
  • Benjamin Horden (2008)
  • Peter Holder (2009)
  • Matthew Fletcher (2010)
  • Richard Moore (2011)
  • Freddie Brown (2012)
  • Alexander Binns (2013) 
  • Peter Harrison (2014)
  • James Orford (2015, 2016)
  • Hugh Rowlands (2017)
  • Michael Butterfield (2018)
  • Benjamin Newlove (2019)
  • Joshua Ryan (2020, 2021)

2021-22 Organ Scholarship

We regret to inform potential candidates that we will not be accepting applications for the 2021-22 Organ Scholarship at Royal Hospital Chelsea, owing to the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current Organ Scholar has been reappointed for a second year.

2022-23 Organ Scholarship

The next Organ Scholar to be appointed will be for the academic year 2022-23. Full details follow.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea Organ Scholarship is designed to be a year of training and apprenticeship for young organists (aged 18-27), who will be expected to be available on Sunday mornings, some weekdays, our annual run of carol services and the major Feasts. There is a large number of special services and extra events, many of which attract further payment. Benefits include:

  • Bursary of approximately £4600 (to be reviewed annually)
  • Single accommodation at low cost in central London
  • Accompanying and working with a high-quality professional choir
  • Experience working closely with the Director of Music and Royal Hospital Chelsea Chapel team 
  • Developing choral directing and rehearsal skills
  • Making and developing musical contacts in London
  • Ideal preparation for RCO and other diplomas – two organs available for practice

The Scholarship will be tenable from September 2022 to July 2023.

Auditions and interviews will take place in February/March 2022.

Closing date for applications is 31 January 2022.

For further details or to apply (with CV, covering letter, passport-style photograph and two references from professional musicians emailed or posted directly) please email will.vann@chelsea-pensioners.org.uk or write to us at:

William Vann
Organist and Director of Music
Royal Hospital Chelsea
Royal Hospital Road
London
SW3 4SR

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