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)
  • Charles Maxtone-Smith (2022)
  • Jamie Andrews (2023)

2024-25 Organ Scholarship

The next Organ Scholar to be appointed will be for the academic year 2024-25.

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 £5000 (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 2024 to July 2025.

Auditions and interviews will take place in Spring 2024.

Closing date for applications is 31 January 2024.

*** IMPORTANT UPDATE (23rd Jan 2024): AUDITIONS WILL BE HELD IN EARLY FEBRUARY, SO PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATIONS AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE TO HELP OUR PROCESS ***

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

Royal Hospital Chelsea Newsletter

Stay up to date with what's going on at The Royal Hospital by signing up for our e‑newsletter.

News

View the archive

Chelsea Pensioners in scarlet coat and Royal Gurkhas stood together
Chelsea Pensioners join the Liberation of Guernsey

This month marked the 79th anniversary of the Liberation of Guernsey. A group of 10 Chelsea Pensioners and serving soldiers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles visited the channel island to mark the occassion. 

Three Chelsea pensioners, two stood behind a bench and one sitting surrounded by red roses in pots
Introducing the Chelsea Pensioner Rose - 'every garden should have one'

A stunning new rose celebrating the Chelsea Pensioners was launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024. Exclusively grown by Harkness Roses for the Royal Hospital, the radiant, resilient Chelsea Pensioner Rose is an asset to any garden. And every rose sold helps support the iconic Army veterans it’s named for.