Top News

Announcements, update

Summer Highlights

In a couple of weeks, on 2 August Eton Choral Course Three will give a recital of British secular music at Malvern College for the ancient and revered Three Choirs Festival. Ben Parry has now for 17 years been directing one course per year. He recently took over as director of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Thus the first ever collaboration between the NYCGB and the Eton Choral Courses, performing  at Hild Bede, Durham on 22 August, under John Rutter CBE, an old friend and strong supporter of the courses. Members of all courses this summer will perform a combined concert in aid of the Choral Course Foundation on 31 August, as the summer draws to a close.

In addition to Evensongs at King’s and St John’s Colleges, Cambridge, and Merton, Queen’s and New Colleges, Oxford, the courses broadcast two services this summer on BBC Radios 3 and 4. On 13 July, course two broadcast Sunday Worship live from Eton College Chapel on Radio 4 (listen again on BBC iPlayer) and Choral Evensong from Cheltenham College Chapel will be broadcast on 27 August on Radio 3.

Course students have the great privilege of visits from the best in the business, many of whom have been on courses themselves. Visitors this year include English baritone Roderick Williams and legendary British mezzo Sarah Walker, who will lead vocal masterclasses, and “contemporary hero of British choral music”, Bob Chilcott (The Observer).

In addition, there are two Junior Choral Courses this summer, for 8 to 15 year olds, and Rodolfus Choir, whose members are drawn from recent courses, gives recitals at Exeter Cathedral on 16 July and for the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester on 30 July.

Details of all of our special events, visitors and our first-class team of resident tutors can be found on our course pages and we hope you will join us either at our performances or by listening online.

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Course Places | May Update

We have a record number of applicants for the courses this year and two of the weeks (Course 2 and Course 6) are fully subscribed. Places are still available during the rest of the summer, especially for lower voices, and we encourage all singers to apply as soon as possible to secure a place! There are also a small number of bursaries available.

Are you a teacher?
Please do pass this around your departments and to all of your students and encourage them to apply for a week they will never forget, where they will make huge progress, vocally and musically.

Are you a young singer?
If you are unsure whether the courses are right for you, have a look at what previous students have said about them, read about the courses, or have a look at the individual course pages, to see what each week has to offer.


“I have made some life-long friends and can’t wait to come on a course in the future! It is an experience I will never forget and would recommend to any young, keen singers!”
2013 Student

“I never knew such a high standard of choral singing existed at our age. I now have a love for English choral music that I don’t think I could have gained otherwise.”
2012 student

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Course Music Announced

We are thrilled to announce the music for the 2014 Courses. More than ever, we have selected a wide-range of music in varying styles and from various periods, from the early Renaissance to the present day.

The music on each course has its own distinct character and approach. Course 1 and Course 6 feature a large amount of accompanied repertoire for Evensongs at Merton College, Oxford and St John’s College, Cambridge. On Course 3, on top of the music chosen for Evensong at New College, Oxford, we have selected a largely secular programme for our recital in the Three Choirs Festival, featuring settings of Shakespeare by Vaughan Williams and bringing Elgar’s ‘From Bavarian Highlands’ back to his native Worcestershire. Ambitious programmes for BBC broadcasts on Course 2 and Course 4 will provide ample challenge and for Course 5 we have taken the opportunity to include music by local composers Noble, Bairstow and Ebdon at our Evensong in Hexham Abbey.

See our individual course pages to find out more about what you will be singing on your course this summer.

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Announcements, Events

Close-Harmony for Bursaries | The Incognitos: Live in Concert

Many may be familiar with the social and musical benefits of close-harmony singing! For one group, however, there is the hope of further benefit, namely to widen the reach of good singing and choral music to all young people, and allow for as many as are enthusiastic to take part.

On 21 April, The Incognitos will sing a concert at St Gabriel’s, Warwick Square to raise money for the Choral Course Foundation. The Foundation was set up to help all young singers take part in the Eton Choral Courses and their younger counterpart, the Junior Choral Course.

Monday 21 April, 19:30
St Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico, SW1V 2AD
Tickets: £10 (on the door)
You can also donate online.

“I started the Choral Course Foundation 18 months ago, with the aim of helping those join in who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. Last summer, lots came and were transformed by the courses and I’ve had lots of moving letters.” Ralph Allwood, Founder and Director

Close-harmony singing forms a major part of the Choral Courses, with each course splitting up into small Consorts of 10-12 singers.

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Course Places | March Update

A full quota of applications for Course 2 and Course 6 has now been received, with places available on the waiting list. However, places still remain on our other four courses this summer and applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to secure a place:

Course 1 – get a taste of Oxford and Cambridge, working with top Cambridge Director, Andrew Nethsingha, and visiting the beautiful Merton College, Oxford. Course 3 – sing in the prestigious Three Choirs Festival. Course 4 – sing on a BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Choral Evensong. Course 5 – work with world-renowned composer, John Rutter and perform in Durham Castle.

For all enquiries and the most up-to-date information on places, contact the Choral Courses Administrator, on +44 (0)1753 671124.

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ECC Newsfeed


BBC Radio 4 Broadcast

BBC Radio 4

On Sunday 13 July, course two, directed by Ben Parry, took part in a live broadcast of ‘Sunday Worship’ on BBC Radio 4, from Eton College Chapel. You can listen to the service on BBC iPlayer until Sunday 20 July.

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Junior Choral Course


After two highly successful Junior Choral Courses in 2013, there are three courses taking place in 2014. The second of these starts this Friday, 18 July, in Wellington College under the direction of Ralph Allwood and Martyn Ford. The Junior Choral Course offers unique opportunities to children aged 8 -15 to experience choral singing at a very high level. The course staff are all singers, and the young people are joined by altos, tenors and basses to enable them to sing some of the great choral repertoire alongside good music written for their higher voices.  The proof of the success of the course lies in the very high proportion of participants who return year after year, many of them bringing with them younger brothers and sisters.  The culmination of the course is the final concert, which will combine a major work from the choral repertoire and lighter music.

People often ask: “do I have to be able to sightread to come on a course?” The answer to this is that many of the participants are excellent sight readers, but there are many, too, who are inexperienced readers. This is a course! We all learn and improve, whatever our current standard.

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Grimsby Minster


Grimsby Minster would like to appoint an Organ Scholar or Assistant Organist from September 2014, or as soon as possible thereafter. The Organ Scholar/Assistant Organist will join the Music Department at an exciting time and will be able to participate fully in all aspects of church and community music, providing invaluable career development opportunities.

In order to perform their duties, the organ scholar/assistant organist, will be required to live in
accommodation provided by the Minster. Rent, council tax, water rates and utilities will be
paid by the Minster. The Minster will pay the sum of £5000pa

For an informal discussion, please contact the Director of Music designate, Steven Maxson,
on 07778 060558 or To apply for the position, please
send an up to date CV along with a covering letter to the Reverend Canon Andrew Dodd,
Rector of Grimsby, The Minster Office, Saint James’ House, Grimsby DN31 1EP, or by email

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Learn about our Tutors

David Goode

The Eton Choral Courses are fortunate to have strong associations with many talented and distinguished tutors, each of whom enrich the Courses with their own experience, passion and dedication.

Have a look at the individual Course pages to read more about each of our tutors.

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Clare Finzi: Alexander Technique


Have you ever had one of those moments of glorious uninhibited performance perfection? Nearly always these happen for me in the practise room, the shower, or even just in my mind. They give me tantalising glimpses of the potential within me. Very often, when I come to the real thing, I find easy, direct expression and flawless technique elusive. Instead, I may be aware of tension or anxiety that gets in the way.

“the most remarkable results, such as freedom of expressions through freedom of movement, or learning to breathe freely despite nerves, or being able to let go and enjoy playing are possible through the Alexander Technique” Alexander Baillie, International solo ‘cellist

Read Clare’s full article here

Clare Finzi will be teaching Alexander Technique on Choral Courses 3 and 4 this summer.

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Auditions for the London Youth Choir 2014/15 season


From Vivaldi’s Gloria to performing live on stage with the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury, The London Youth Choir has been described as the ‘coolest choir in the M25′ (Gareth Malone). Now entering its third exciting year we are on the hunt for London’s most gifted young singers!

Are you aged 8-21 and living in London? Do you love singing and want to meet with other talented young musicians every week? Applications are now open for the five London Youth Choir ensembles. Bursaries are available towards the audition cost and membership fees for those in need of support, and there are Choral Scholarships for aspiring singing professionals aged 18-21 of £600 per year. For more information and to apply online please visit our website.

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University of Cambridge Vocal Assessment Days

Bridge of Sighs Matt Thomas

The University of Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Choral Awards Scheme Vocal Assessment Days are held in September/October in order to provide informal advice on the suitability of your voice and experience for the varying demands of the choirs at Colleges that offer choral awards as part of the Inter-Collegiate Choral Awards Competition. The deadline to apply is Sept 15. More information is available here.

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Reunion and Concert at Eton College

Choral Course Foundation

We will be inviting back past members of all courses in 2014 for a reunion event on 31 August  - a perfect opportunity to sum up a brilliant summer of music-making and a chance to see friends made during the courses. Course 6 will travel back to Choral Courses HQ for this special concert in Eton College’s magnificent School Hall.

The workshop and concert will be raising money for the Choral Course Foundation to enable more and more young singers to attend the Choral Courses regardless of financial situation.

For further details, please click here.

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Norwich Cathedral seeks Alto Choral Scholar

Cathedral Nave 2014

Applications are invited for an Alto Choral Scholar at Norwich Cathedral for the academic year 2014–15, with the possibility of an additional year. This opportunity would be suitable for those wishing to take a gap year, undergraduates or post-graduates; and is open to men and women. Details from the Liturgy & Music Administrator:

12 The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DH
+44 (0)1603 218306

For ideas of other opportunities, see our Gap Years page.

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Shadwell Opera


Many singers from Eton Choral Courses go on to careers in Opera. A rising star amongst the growing collection of new opera companies to emerge in the UK, Shadwell Opera presents their new production of In the Penal Colony by Philip Glass next month. The opera is based on the original story of Franz Kafka and opens at the Arts Theatre London on 16 June. Tickets here. Listen to director Jack Furness on BBC InTune on Thursday 29 May.

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Hereford Cathedral Choral Scholarships

Hereford Cathedral

Applications are invited for Choral Scholars at Hereford Cathedral (counter-tenor & tenor) for the academic year 2014–15. For further details please see the Cathedral website email the Director of Music, Geraint Bowen / +44 (0)1432 374238.

For ideas of other opportunities, see our Gap Years page.

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James Burton to direct Course 5

James Burton, portrait by David Perkins

We are delighted to announce James Burton as Director on Course 5 in Durham. A former Eton Choral Course student himself, James is well-established as a choral, operatic and orchestral conductor and has experience working with young singers at the Hallé Youth Choir and Schola Cantorum of Oxford. Read more about James here.

James replaces Simon Toyne who has had to withdraw for personal reasons.

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Nigel Short conducts | Course 4

Nigel Short

We’re thrilled to have Nigel Short as our visiting conductor on Course 4. A former King’s Singer, now directing the award-winning Tenebrae, Nigel writes:

“I’m very much looking forward to meeting and working with the youngsters on the ECC having heard so many great things from other conductors who have worked on the course before. Helping and enthusing these youngsters is such an important step in securing a great future for choral music in the UK that I’m very proud to be a part of it and hope we can achieve some magical results together.”

There are still a few spaces on Course 4 for those who would like to take this opportunity, not to mention a BBC Radio 3 Broadcast and a master-class with the inimitable Sarah Walker CBE… Here’s how to apply.

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LATEST: Evensong at Hexham Abbey | Course 5

Hexham Abbey

As one of the special events on Course 5, we are delighted to announce that the choir will sing Evensong at Hexham Abbey on 21 August. Music will include Bairstow’s Evening Service in D and Edward Naylor’s motet for double choir, Vox Dicentis. One of the UK’s architectural gems, the current Abbey at Hexham was built in the 12th Century.

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Get some ideas for gap year opportunities here.


Edward Higginbottom to conduct Evensong | Course 3

Edward Higginbottom

This summer, Course 3 will sing Evensong at New College, Oxford on 31 July and we are delighted to announce that the service will be conducted by Edward Higginbottom, Director of Music at New College since 1976. In his time there, Higginbottom has transformed the College’s choir into one of the world’s finest. This is his last year as Director of Music and it is a privilege for the course to be singing under his direction there before he leaves. The service will include music by Purcell and Tippett.

On each course there are two main choral performances which form the climax of the week’s preparation and two days later, Course 3 will perform in the Three Choirs Festival.

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