Oxford University Music Society

The Musical Heart of Oxford

Oxford University Music Society

Merton Choir

Merton College Choir


Organ Scholars:
Charlie Warren (grad. 2015)
Peter Shepherd (grad. 2016)

Reed Rubin Director of Music: Peter Phillips

Email: Reed Rubin Organist and Director of Music, Benjamin Nicholas.

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The Choir of Merton College is one of Oxford’s leading mixed-voice choirs. The thirty singers are undergraduate and postgraduate students at Oxford University and study a range of subjects. The choir’s principal focus is the sung services in the thirteenth century chapel at Merton College, which in addition to concert tours and recordings, makes for a busy schedule. Recent tours include France (2009, 2010 and 2011) and in the USA (2011), as well as giving numerous concerts in the UK. Recent performances have included Tallis’s Spem in alium in the Beaujolais Festival, Mozart’s Requiem in St Germain-des-Prés, Paris, Orff”s Carmina Burana in the St Jude’s Proms, the premiere of David Briggs’s Messe Solennelle in St Paul’s Cathedral and a concert in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh. During 2013 the choir have sung in Westminster Abbey and will tour in Sweden. The choir plays a leading role in the annual Passiontide at Merton festival, including performances of Bach’s St John Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Arvo Pärt’s Passio in 2013. The 2014 festival will see the premiere of Gabriel Jackson’s The Passion of the Lord.

Three services and a rehearsal each week, as well as other occasional services.

Who can join the choir?
The choir is fully auditioned, and there are spaces for non-choral scholars. Please contact Benjamin Nicholas for more information, or to arrange an audition. Non-choral scholars receive £4 per service.

Additional Benefits
All members of the choir receive free Formal Hall after choral services. The choir undertakes tours and recordings on a regular basis, and these are subsidised.

Choral Scholarships
The Choral Scholars read a wide range of subjects, and the commitment at Merton is such that they have sufficient time for their academic study and other University and College activities. The scholarship is worth over £800, consisting of an annual bursary of £350, singing lessons (with Giles Underwood or Carys Lane), and masterclasses with visiting teachers.

Details of the Organ Scholarships:
The Organ Scholars are undergraduate members of the College. They are responsible for playing at Chapel services, concerts and tours and assist the Directors of Music with the running of the choir. In addition to an annual honorarium of £500, they receive organ lessons from William Whitehead and singing lessons from Giles Underwood and Carys Lane. The Organ Scholars receive free meals after choral services and have a generous grant with which to purchase organ music. The College will offer financial support for the Organ Scholars to attend suitable courses and study tours and will cover the cost of any related examinations.