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New College Oxford Seeks Assistant Organist


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New College is looking to appoint a full time assistant organist: http://www.newcollegechoir.co.uk/news.htm. I can't help wondering why. Is the college playing safe in the face of the generally declining standard of organ scholars? Being one of the top four organ scholarships, I wouldn't have thought they need worry about lack of talent yet.

 

Or maybe being brilliant isn't quite good enough?

 

Or... what?

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New College is looking to appoint a full time assistant organist: http://www.newcollegechoir.co.uk/news.htm. I can't help wondering why. Is the college playing safe in the face of the generally declining standard of organ scholars? Being one of the top four organ scholarships, I wouldn't have thought they need worry about lack of talent yet.

 

Or maybe being brilliant isn't quite good enough?

 

Or... what?

Top four? King’s, John’s, Christ Church, Magdalen are the other fully-choral foundations at Oxbridge, with Trinity and Clare at Cambridge giving them a run for their money.

 

But to answer your question, perhaps Dr Higginbottom is scaling back his involvement with the choir. Christ Church has generally had an Assistant Organist as well as an organ scholar in modern times. Given the mention of some work in New College School, perhaps they saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

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In my experience many of the good organists end up as organ scholars at Jesus College, Cambridge. Of the current organ scholars there, one has FRCO already and I'm surprised the other hasn't yet (or maybe he has now).

 

My point is that New College seems to be quite far down the 'priority list' for many of the young organists of that calibre. Therefore they don't appoint an organ scholar as they can't find one of appropriate standard often enough, and so they end up with only one organ scholar at any one time, so they have to appoint an assistant organist as well. This is nothing new: both Robert Patterson and Matthew Martin have held this post in the recent past (neither of which were ever organ scholars of the college).

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