Skip Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Our Choir and music

About the Choir

Oriel College Chapel Choir sings two major services each week in term: Choral Evensong on Sundays at 6pm and Choral Communion on Wednesday at 6pm. It also sings at special services during the academic year and goes on tour each summer. Recent tours have been to Milan, Munich and Prague.

The Choir’s repertoire of sacred music ranges from the 16th to the 21st centuries. It is an excellent mixed-voice choir with about 30 members, eight of whom are Choral Scholars. While most of its members are from Oriel, people from other colleges are always very welcome to audition. For more information about the Choir and their activities, contact the Director of Music, Dr David Maw.

Contact the Director of Music

Organ and Choral Scholarships

The College offers two Organ Scholarships and eight Choral Scholarships. Organ Scholars at Oriel may read for most but not all degree subjects offered at the College. The Faculty of Music holds annual open days, usually in April each year – more details are available on the Faculty of Music website.

For further information and to download an application form, visit the Faculty of Music website. There are also places in the Choir by audition for those who are not Scholars.

Visit the Faculty of Music website

Choral Scholarships

Choral Scholars form the nucleus of the Choir and are expected to take a leadership role in its smooth operation. The College offers two to three Choral Scholarships each year to intending undergraduate applicants. Choral Scholars may read for any degree subject offered by the College. Scholarships are awarded solely on the basis of vocal merit, but are subject to academic admittance. In addition to Scholar status and a stipend, they receive regular individual and group voice lessons.

Organ Scholarships

The Organ Scholars are undergraduate members of the College. They are responsible for playing at Chapel services, taking rehearsals and assisting the Director of Music with the running of the Choir. They are also expected to play at additional services such as weddings, memorial services and ‘gaudies’ (meetings of old College members), which often occur outside of full term. In addition to Scholar status, they receive a stipend, regular organ and conducting lessons along with on-site accommodation, specialized for scholars to carry out their duties.

Please note that Organ Scholars are only accepted in some subjects (see list below).

subjects for which organ scholars are accepted

Biochemistry
Number of places 4 Admission Criteria Applicants must have A-level, or the equivalent, in Chemistry. Due to the course content, Biology and Maths and/or Physics at A level, though not requirements, are very helpful. The first-year course provides the necessary background in biology, physics and maths for those who have not studied these beyond GCSE.

Chemistry
Number of places 4 Admission Criteria Conditional offers: A*A*A at A-Level (or equivalent) including Chemistry and Mathematics. The A*s must be in science subjects and/or mathematics. Further information can be found on the Chemistry Admissions page.

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Number of places 6 for Literae Humaniores (Classics), Classics and Oriental Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. Admission Criteria Applicants should usually have AAA at A-Level (or equivalent).

Classics (Literae Humaniores)
Number of places 6 for Literae Humaniores (Classics), Classics and Oriental Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. There are additionally 1 place for Classics and English and 1 (usually) for Classics and Modern Languages. Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT). Candidates will also be asked to submit two pieces of written work in English. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information can be found on the Classics Faculty website.

Classics and English
Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT). Candidates will also be asked to submit two pieces of written work in English. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information can be found on the Classics Faculty website.

Classics and Modern Languages
Number of places Usually 1 Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT). Written work is also required. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information about admission requirements for the course can be found on the University website.

Classics and Oriental Studies
Number of places 6 for Literae Humaniores (Classics), Classics and Oriental Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT). Written work is also required. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information about admission requirements for the course can be found on the University website.

Computer Science
Number of places 4 Admission Criteria Candidates sit a written Mathematics test in schools before being shortlisted for interview. Conditional offers: usually A*AA at A-level (or equivalent), including Mathematics and Further Mathematics if taken, with the A* in Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Computing/Computer Science.

Computer Science and Philosophy
Admission Criteria Candidates sit a written Mathematics test in schools before being shortlisted for interview. Conditional offers: usually A*AA at A-level (or equivalent), including Mathematics and Further Mathematics if taken, with the A* in Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Computing/Computer Science.

Engineering Science
Admission Criteria All candidates for the Engineering course must take the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT), usually in November each year. Conditional offers are usually Grades A*A*A at A-Level (or equivalent) including Mathematics and Physics. The A*s must be obtained in Mathematics, Physics or Further Mathematics if taken.

English and Modern Languages
Admission Criteria All candidates are required to sit a test or tests in November (find out more on the University website). Conditional offers are usually AAA at A-level (or equivalent), with A grades required for any language to be studied (except ab initio languages). Candidates have two interviews in the college. As part of the process, candidates are given a short text to read and then discuss with interviewers; they are also expected to discuss their recent reading, both in and out of school.

English Language and Literature
Number of places 5 or 6 (including joint schools) Admission Criteria One piece of recent written work is required. There is no written test at interview, but all applicants will be expected to have taken the ELAT. Candidates have two interviews in the college. As part of the process, candidates are given a short text to read and then discuss with interviewers; they are also expected to discuss their recent reading, both in and out of school.

History
Number of places 9 Admission Criteria The admissions process at Oriel is exactly the same as at all other colleges. For further information, please visit the History Faculty admissions pages.

History (Ancient and Modern)
Number of places Usually 1 Admission Criteria Short-listing by History Aptitude Test and GCSE results (contextualized by school performance data). Admission by written work, interviews, and AAA at A-level or equivalent. There are no required subjects, and we consider applicants who do not have A-level History.

History and Economics
Number of places From History quota Admission Criteria Short-listing by History Aptitude Test (which will feature an Economics question) and GCSE results (contextualized by school performance data). Admission by written work, test result, interviews and AAA at A-level or equivalent. There are no required subjects, and we consider applicants who do not have A-level History, but A-level (or at least GCSE or AS-level) Maths would be an advantage.

History and Modern Languages
Number of places From the Modern Languages quota Admission Criteria Short-listing by History Aptitude Test, Language Test, and GCSE results (contextualized by school performance data). Admission by written work, interviews, and AAA at A-level or equivalent. You should have studied your chosen language to A-level (except in the case of Italian, which can be studied from scratch). We consider applicants who do not have A-level History.

History and Politics
Number of places Usually 1 Admission Criteria Short-listing by History Aptitude Test and GCSE results (contextualized by school performance data). Admission by written work, interviews, and AAA at A-level or equivalent. There are no required subjects, and we consider applicants who do not have A-level History.

Law (Jurisprudence)
Number of places 6 Admission Criteria All candidates sit the LNAT test. No written work is required. Conditional offers: AAA at A-Level (or equivalent).

Mathematics
Number of places 6 Admission Criteria All candidates must sit the Admissions Test for Mathematics. Conditional offers: A*A*A at A-Level (or equivalent) with the A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken). The majority of entrants have two A-Levels in mathematics. Applicants with only one mathematics A-level are not at a disadvantage in the competition for places, but successful candidates have more preparation to do over the summer before they start their course.

Mathematics and Computer Science
Number of places 2 Admission Criteria Conditional offers: usually A*AA at A-level (or equivalent), including Mathematics and Further Mathematics if taken, with the A* in Mathematics or Further Mathematics.

Mathematics and Philosophy
Number of places 1 or 2 Admission Criteria A-levels or equivalent: A*A*A with the A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken).

Medicine
Number of places Pre-Clinical: 5 or 6, Clinical: 4 or 5 Admission Criteria All candidates take the BMAT test. No written work is required. Oriel does not have a preference for Maths or Biology at A level, and students taking one non-science A level are encouraged to apply.

Modern Languages (and Linguistics)
Number of places Usually 9 Admission Criteria One piece of marked written work is required for each language you plan to study and in which you will have A2 (or equivalent) before university. In addition, all candidates must submit one piece of marked writing in English. If you are applying for a language which you have not taken at A2 (or equivalent) then you do not need to submit anything in that language. All candidates are required to sit a test or tests in November. Conditional offers: AAA at A-level (or equivalent), with A grades required for any language to be studied (except ab initio languages).

Music
Admission Criteria
Applicants are asked to submit two essays and samples of harmony and counterpoint. Interviewees are required to perform on their first-study instrument, and those not holding Grade 5 in Piano are required additionally to execute piano sight-reading of that standard. Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent) including Music.

Philosophy (Joint Honours)
Admission Criteria The admissions criteria for each course involving philosophy can be found on the dedicated course page. For all courses, applicants invited to interview will be given a philosophy interview, or an interview with a philosophy component. At interview, we will not test whether you are already familiar with philosophical texts or arguments. Instead we are interested in your aptitude and potential for precise analytical thought, and in whether you enjoy abstract reasoning.

Philosophy and Modern Languages
Number of places 1 or 2, taken from the Modern Languages quota of 9 Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), normally at their own school or college, in November, in addition to the written work specified on the university’s website. Separate registration for this test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for this test. Candidates will need to take two sections of the MLAT: one for their chosen language, and one for Philosophy. Conditional offers: AAA at A-level (or equivalent), with A grades required for any language to be studied (except ab initio languages).

Philosophy and Theology
Number of places 3 or 4 Admission Criteria Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work for Theology (no work is required for Philosophy). Applicants should also complete the Philosophy admissions test, which is usually taken in November each year.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Number of places 9 Admission Criteria Conditional offers: normally AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Applicants are not required to submit written work. All candidates must take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) in early November, normally at their own schools or colleges. Separate registration for this test is required and prospective applicants should refer to the test website for further information.

Physics
Number of places 5 Admission Criteria All applicants must take the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) in school or at a test centre in early November. No written work required. Typical offers: A*AA at A-Level (or equivalent) including A*, A in Physics and Maths.

Physics and Philosophy
Admission Criteria Typical offers: A*AA at A-Level (or equivalent) including A*, A in Physics and Maths. Applying for Physics and Philosophy, rather than for Physics, will not reduce your chance of admission. Applicants for both degrees are considered as a gathered field and applicants to Oriel for Physics and Philosophy are automatically considered for a place to read straight Physics. All applicants must take the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) in school or at a test centre in early November.  

Theology and Religion
Number of places 2 or 3 Admission Criteria Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Candidates for places in the Single Honours School of Theology are not required to have backgrounds in particular subjects. Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work.  

History of the Oriel College Organ

The Chapel organ was built in 1988 by J.W.Walker and Sons, Ltd through the munificence of Norma, Lady Dalrymple-Champneys. It has 19 speaking stops divided between two manuals and pedals; the action is mechanical. Reflecting the spirit of the eighteenth-century English organ in its design, voicing and tuning, it is very much at home in Baroque music. Nonetheless, it is well able to meet the eclectic demands that are made of it, acquitting itself with distinction also in repertory of more recent times, whether in solo or when accompanying the Choir. The elegant case in which it is housed was originally designed for the Schreider organ of 1716 in St Mary Abbotts Kensington.

further information