Department of Music

Choral scholarships

The Department of Music has a strong relationship with the three largest churches in the City of Nottingham:

  • Cathedral Church of St Barnabas
  • St Mary the Virgin Church
  • St Peter's Church

Many music students participate in these choirs, and each church offers choral scholarships for which there is an audition process. Scholarships are also available at nearby Derby Cathedral.

Participation in the church choirs are not subject to being awarded a scholarship, and places are open to students of all subjects.


The Schola Cantorum of St Barnabas Cathedral, of which all Choral Scholars become members, sing Alex Patterson's 'Advent Responsory: I look from afar' originally written for the University of Nottingham's Coro Sorelle whilst he was a student here.



Derby Cathedral

Derby Cathedral is pleased to be able to offer alto, tenor and bass Choral Scholarships to good singers with strong music reading skills, which are an essential requirement.

Derby is just a short journey away from Nottingham, and there are excellent public transport links. The Cathedral choir enjoys a deserved and growing reputation for professional-level musical excellence, and sings a rich variety of music. The annual programme includes concerts, recordings and national BBC broadcasts and tours across the UK and abroad. The Cathedral, at the heart of the city, is host to a large number of special services both within and outside the usual, regular pattern of weekly services, and as the mother church of the Diocese serves a large and broad community. Choral scholars sing alongside the paid lay clerks in the choir.  Treble lines are provided by our two full teams of boy and girl choristers. The lay clerks/choral scholars are required for Evensong on Thursdays (5.55-7.30 including rehearsals) and for two services on Sundays (10.00-12.00 and 5.10-7.10 including rehearsals) Choral scholars also receive tuition from the Cathedral’s Vocal Coach as part of the scholarship. Scholars are paid up to £1200/year.

Choral Scholars are required to attend all rehearsals and service sung by the full Cathedral Choir during term time. Attendance during Holy Week and Christmas is by arrangement. Further details can be found on the Cathedral’s website:  These posts are especially suitable for singers who enjoy the stretch and challenge of singing large quantities of music to high standards. This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in singing at a professional level with a manageable regular time commitment and with numerous opportunities for further work. Interested candidates should contact the Director of Music, Hugh Morris, for an informal discussion and to arrange an interview, which will happen in September.



Cathedral Church of St Barnabas, Nottingham

Choral Scholarships (SATB) are available at the Cathedral Church of St Barnabas to students in full time tertiary education in Nottingham.

Choral Scholars are required to attend all rehearsals and Masses sung by the full Cathedral Choir during term time and in addition sing for up to two Sunday 6pm Masses per month. Attendance during Holy Week and Christmas is by arrangement.

The Cathedral is pleased to offer scholarships for up to £1,200 and will also give the opportunity for subsidised singing lessons with some of the city's top singing coaches. Scholars are also often called upon to sing for weddings and funerals, for which additional fees are payable.

In addition to performing music to enhance the liturgy, the Cathedral Choir maintains a lively concert schedule throughout the year. Recent highlights include the 40-part motet Spem in Alium (Tallis) as well as Ein Deutsches Requiem (Brahms), The Dream of Gerontius (Elgar) and to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Choral Scholarships, St John Passion (Bach).

The Cathedral Choir has recorded numerous CDs and has gained an excellent reputation both nationally and overseas as a result of its regular tours abroad. Recent concert tours have visited Hong Kong, Rome (including singing Mass at St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican), Tuscany, Munich and Ulster.

Singers wishing to be considered for a Scholarship are required to take an audition in which vocal, aural and sight-singing skills will be assessed.

If you would like further information, please visit the St Baranabas Cathedral website.

Applicants are invited to contact Alex Patterson, the Director of Music,  at



Church of St Mary the Virgin, Nottingham

The Church of St Mary the Virgin is delighted to offer up to ten Choral Scholarships per annum to students of the University of Nottingham.

Under the direction of John Keys the Choir of St Mary's is recognised as one for the region's finest and amongst the best of its type in the country. As well as performing music for liturgical use, the Choir has the resources to undertake large scale works which have included Verdi's Requiem, Mozart's Requiem and annual rendition of the Bach Passions. In recent years the Choir has had the honour of being invited to sing the weekly services at St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

In addition to its busy concert commitments, the Choir sings two evensongs and one morning service a week plus occasional further services. Scholars are expected to take a full part in the varied musical life of the church, and are supported and encouraged accordingly.

On top of a very generous bursary, exceeding those offered by many other universities and colleges, each Scholar also benefits from subsidised singing lessons, master-classes with renowned choral conductors, international tours and recordings. The Choir hopes to provide a fertile environment in which young singers can gain experience and confidence and grow into skilled performers. Since the establishment of the Scholarships in 2001 the Choir has welcomed over 50 talented young singers into its ranks, many of whom have gone onto careers in music.

Scholars are expected to have a strong voice, good musicianship and some sight reading ability. Appointment is by application and audition.

If you are interested in applying for a Choral Scholarship at St Mary's, please go to the St Mary's Choir website, where you will find an application form, a current music list, former scholar testimonials and frequently asked questions. Alternatively, please contact John Keys, the Director of Music, at



St Peter's Church, Nottingham

There is a long-standing choral tradition at St Peter's, and the choir is renowned for the friendliness of its welcome.

There is a diversity of singers, and  high standards in a wide variety of repertoire from plainsong to new commissions; there are also frequent visits to cathedrals across the UK and abroad.

Though most choristers are volunteers, St Peter's Choir also offers modest choral scholarships to those in full-time education. Students in university education are offered a scholarship of £250 p/a in return for their commitment to attending the weekly rehearsal on a Friday evening, as well as to one of the two Sunday services (either 10.45am or 6.30pm, as prescribed by the Director of Music). In addition to this 'core commitment', there are a number of mid-week services on various feast days through the year, regular trips to cathedrals both in the UK and abroad, as well as frequent concert performances. Choral scholars are heartily encouraged to take full advantage of all these opportunities.

Recent trips include those to the cathedrals in Southwark (2014), Ripon, Lincoln (2013), Canterbury, Durham (2012), Norwich, Notre Dame de Paris (2011), Winchester (2010) as well as regular visits to our own Diocesan cathedral in Southwell.

The Director of Music is Dr Peter Siepmann (himself a graduate of the University of Nottingham, and past conductor of both Viva Voce and the University Choir). For more information, come talk to him after a Sunday service, or email him on

Further information, including recordings, can be found on the  St Peter's Choir website.



Guide to Musical Life at Nottingham


Music courses

Undergraduate degrees

Music BA

Music and Philosophy BA

Postgraduate degrees

Music MA (by Research)

Research degrees

Music composition MPhil/PhD

Musicology MPhil/PhD





Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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Telephone: +44 (0)115 951 5841