Magdalen College Choir
The Choir of Magdalen College was founded in 1480 and is made up of 12 Academical Clerks, and two Organ scholars. The sixteen Choristers are educated at Magdalen College School whilst the Academical clerks and Organ Scholars are mostly undergraduates at Magdalen reading a variety of subjects.
The Director of Music is Daniel Hyde who still retains the ancient Latin title of Informator Choristarum. Daniel moved to Magdalen in April 2009 having been Organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge and Director of Music at Jesus College, Cambridge.
In recent years Magdalen College Choir has toured Japan, USA, Hungary, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany and France; forthcoming tours are planned to France (2013) and the USA (2014). Concert appearances have included the BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall and St Martin in the Fields. Recent orchestral performances have included collaborations with the Britten Sinfonia, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the Oxford Philomusica; they recently made their debut with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and have performed with Oxford Baroque in a new collaboration. In recent years they have recorded exclusively for Harmonia Mundi, and future recording plans include a collaboration with the viol consort Phantasm. Away from Magdalen, the Choir has worked regularly with the film composer George Fenton, most notably in Richard Attenborough’s movie, Shadowlands, and on the award-winning soundtrack for the BBCTV series, Blue Planet. They also sing at a number of special occasions throughout the year, including the famous May Day celebrations, an ancient tradition dating back to 1509.
Since September 2010, the College has also had a second choir, Magdalen Consort of Voices, which sings on Saturdays. Consisting of the College’s Academical Clerks alongside sopranos from amongst the student body, Magdalen is the first choral foundation to offer women the opportunity to sing officially as part of the College Chapel music foundation.
During the three University terms there are seven choral services per week, but both Clerks and Choristers have two days each week when they are free of duties in the Chapel. There is a rehearsal before every service.
Who can join the choir?
All members of the choir are scholars, academical clerks, or choristers. The choral scholars and academical clerks are members of Magdalen college.
Organ Scholarships Information
The two organ scholars provide the accompaniments and voluntaries for choral services, either on the Chapel’s fine 2-manual Mander instrument, or the portable chamber organ. Organ Scholars attend full rehearsals and also help with the Choristers’ morning practices. From time to time they are required to rehearse and conduct the Choir; they also teach theory of music to the older Choristers.
The organ scholars’ stipends (£350) are related to academic awards, with supplements for vacation duties. There are also fees for concerts, recordings and broadcasts. Accommodation is provided within the College during their undergraduate years and each scholar’s room is equipped with a keyboard instrument. They also receive regular organ lessons payed for by the college.
Academical Clerks/Choral Scholarships Information
Academical clerks, or choral scholars, are undergraduates at Magdalen, reading a variety of subjects, who win their place in the Choir by competing for choral scholarships.
The Academical Clerks’ stipends (£350) are related to academic awards, with supplements for vacation duties. There are also fees for concerts, recordings and broadcasts. Accommodation is provided within the College during their undergraduate years and each clerks’ room is equipped with a keyboard instrument. They also receive regular singing lessons paid for by the College.
Musical auditions for Choral and Organ Award candidates are held jointly with other colleges in September, usually one year in advance of admission. Choral Award candidates are required to return to Oxford in December for their academic interview. Each year there are normally vacancies for three or four Academical Clerks. Magdalen can only admit an Organ Scholar who is applying to read Music and candidates will undertake an academic interview and admissions tests for Music at the same time.
The Director of Chapel Music, Daniel Hyde, is always happy to meet prospective candidates to give further information, answer queries and offer advice.
For further details about Magdalen College Choir, recent and forthcoming events, important dates and applying for a Choral or Organ Award, email firstname.lastname@example.org.