Organ Scholars

William Wallace – Senior Organ Scholar

William Wallace is Senior Organ Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford. His musical training began as a chorister at Chichester Cathedral, where he was Head Chorister, and became fascinated by the organ, beginning to receive tuition from the Assistant Organist, Mark Wardell, at the age of twelve.

William went on to become a music scholar at The Portsmouth Grammar School, during which time he was taught by James Lloyd Thomas. Whilst still in the sixth form, he was Organ Scholar at Portsmouth Cathedral, became an Associate of the Royal College of Organists and an inaugural holder of the RCO’s Dr John Birch Scholarship.

William’s gap year was spent as Organ Scholar at Canterbury Cathedral, combining this with a position in the Music Department at The King’s School. Notably, one of his responsibilities at the Cathedral involved accompanying the recently established Girls’ Choir, with whom he featured alongside at their debut concert and on their premiere CD release.

In September 2015, he moved to Oxford to become Organ Scholar at Christ Church and begin his studies for a degree in Music.

William has studied the organ with internationally renowned concert organists, Christian Wilson and Margaret Phillips. As a solo recitalist, he has performed at venues including St Lawrence Jewry, St John’s Smith Square and Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

Makoto James – Junior Organ Scholar

Makoto James started his musical career at the age of seven as a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. While there he began to study the organ with cathedral organists Tim Wakerell and Jamie Mcvinnie.

At the age of thirteen he won a music scholarship to Eton College where he continued his studies with David Goode. During that time he gave recitals in venues such as Reading Town Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral. He also gave a performance of Handel’s 2nd Organ Concerto with Eton’s chamber orchestra.

Between Eton and Oxford Makoto spent two years in France studying the harpsichord and forte piano with Yasuko Bouvard, and receiving a diploma in organ with the ‘Prix Vidal’ from the Toulouse conservatoire, under Michel Bouvard and Jan Willem Jansen. During his time in Toulouse he also performed regularly with the Maîtrise de Toulouse, including performances of the Fauré and Duruflé requiems.

Makoto moved to Oxford in September 2016 to take up his appointment as Junior Organ Scholar at Christ Church and to begin studying for a degree in Music.

Previous Organ Scholars

Alexander Pott (Organ Scholar 2012-2015)

“I came up to Christ Church in 2012 having spent a gap year at Chelmsford Cathedral. I had a fantastic time at Christ Church and greatly enjoyed working with Stephen Darlington and Clive Driskill-Smith. I certainly worked very hard, especially to begin with – balancing playing for three or four of the services every week plus my music degree work was tough – but it’s perfectly manageable if you’re prepared to be organised. I learned so many skills from my organ scholarship that I now use regularly – not only organ repertoire and accompaniment but directing a choir and teaching children. After three years at Christ Church I went to Westminster Cathedral to be organ scholar, and have now returned to Oxford as Assistant Organist and Tutor to the Choristers at Magdalen College.”

Ghislaine Reece-Trapp (Organ Scholar 2011-2014)

“I was Organ Scholar at Christ Church from 2011 to 2014, before staying on as Assistant Organist for a year after graduating as an Academic Scholar. The countless opportunities and responsibilities given to me over my four years at the Cathedral have without doubt shaped my career as a professional musician. Learning a vast and varied repertoire to a high standard for daily services and live radio broadcasts has broadened my musicianship, improving my ability to sight-read, refine and interpret music of all genres. Furthermore, the challenge of balancing a heavy academic and practical musical workload instilled in me early on a discipline which has enabled me to build a rich and fulfilling portfolio career. I currently teach academic music at Eltham College, where I am heavily involved in the lively extracurricular life of the school; I perform recitals across the UK and abroad, and will be participating in the St Alban’s International Organ Recital Series this summer; I teach on organ courses for the Royal College of Organists, am a Consultant for the Royal School of Church Music and a Yeoman of the Worship Company of Musicians; and I am a keen composer, reaching the Finals of the BBC Radio 3 Carol of the Year Composition Competition and the Northern Ireland International Composition Competition. I look back on my time at Christ Church with fondness, and am eternally grateful to Stephen Darlington for his commitment, passion, support and high expectations in making my experience there a special one.”

Applying to be an Organ Scholar

There are vacancies for 2018 and 2020. For further details please see THIS WEBSITE. The Organ Scholar is normally required to read for the Honour School of Music. He/she assists the Organist with running the music in the Cathedral and attends most practices and services. The opportunity exists to give recitals in the Cathedral, and to conduct the choir in practices and services. The Organ Scholar is expected to play a prominent role in the musical life of the College and University.

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