Organ Scholars

There are two Organ Scholars* who assist the Director of Music in the running of the Choir, attending the daily rehearsals for the Choristers at the School, and accompanying the services in Chapel. St John's boasts an impressive line of former Organ Scholars – see below and on our alumni page.

*For the 2016-17 academic year, Joseph Wicks is serving as Assistant Organist.

If you are interested in becoming an Organ Scholar please visit our Becoming an Organ Scholar page.

Joseph Wicks – Assistant Organist

Joseph graduated from Cambridge with a degree in Music in 2016, during which he completed his FRCO and was awarded the prestigious Limpus Prize. He is currently serving a fourth year at St John's as Assistant Organist following three years as Organ Scholar whilst also directing 'The Gentlemen of St John's'. He spent a gap year as Organ Scholar of Hereford Cathedral, and before this was a Walter Stanton Music Scholar and the Sixth Form Organ Scholar at Lancing College. He began his musical education as a Chorister, later Bishop’s (Head) Chorister, of Salisbury Cathedral. Joseph began the organ ten years ago, and has been taught by Neil Cox, Stephen Farr and Daniel Cook, now continuing to study with Gordon Stewart. Joseph's recent recital venues include King’s, Queen’s and St John’s Colleges, Cambridge, Hereford and Wells Cathedrals and Westminster Abbey.

Joseph plays a large proportion of the world famous Choir of St John’s College’s daily services, and also accompanies them on their busy broadcast, recording and international tour schedules, most recently to Germany and France. Joseph’s ultimate ambition is to be a Cathedral organist and Director of Music, and has recently discovered a passion for choral conducting. He conducts the College Choir regularly, and has to date conducted The Trinity Consort in a performance of James MacMillan’s Miserere, as well as the Beaufort Consort which will be performing Macmillan's Seven Last Words From The Cross.

In addition, Joseph remains as committed as possible to singing, and is taught by David Lowe in Cambridge. He is a graduate of the prestigious Genesis Sixteen, a training scheme run by internationally renowned choir The Sixteen and its director Harry Christophers. Joseph sings with The Gesualdo Six, who are fast becoming well regarded across the country.

Joseph is delighted to be taking up the post of Assistant Director of Music at Truro Cathedral, beginning in September 2017.

His concerts are advertised at and on his own website at                      

Glen Dempsey - Herbert Howells Organ Scholar

Born in Suffolk in 1994, Glen’s formative musical experiences were centered around the English choral tradition - as a chorister in St Mary’s, Bury St Edmunds and later in the choirs of St Edmundsbury Cathedral. Organ lessons with Michael Nicholas led to his being awarded a scholarship as a répétiteur to study at the Purcell School of Music. During this time Glen performed in all the major concert halls of London as a soloist and chamber musician on the organ and piano, and also conducted at the Wigmore Hall.

In 2013 Glen was appointed Organ Scholar at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. In this role he was responsible for accompanying and directing the choir’s daily services and for training the choristers, as well as for playing at many events attended by the British Royal Family. Alongside his organ studies with Ann Elise Smoot he maintained a varied performance profile as organist, conductor and tenor.

During the academic year 2014/15 he resided in the Netherlands and was the Assistant Organist of St Nicholas’s Basilica, Amsterdam. Under the mentorship of Michael Hedley, Glen accompanied the majority of the choral services in the Basilica, as well as having had responsibility for conducting the Basilica’s various choirs and ensembles. During this time he studied with Jacques van Oortmerssen.

Glen became Organ Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge in October 2015.

The Organ

The Organs

St John’s has two organs. The main organ was built by Mander and Sons in 1993. Although largely new, the instrument incorporates parts of the previous Hill organ and subsequent alterations, including the famous Trompetta Real, several Swell stops and much of the Pedal division. You can find the specification of the Mander organ below. There is more information on this organ on the St John's College website. In addition to the main organ, a three-stop transposing chamber organ for smaller scale repertoire was completed by Vincent Woodstock in 2010.

Previous Organ Scholars

  • 2012 Edward Picton-Turbervill
  • 2010 Freddie James
  • 2008 John Challenger
  • 2007 Timothy Ravalde
  • 2005 Léon Charles
  • 2004 Paul Provost
  • 2002 John Robinson
  • 2000 Jonathan Vaughn
  • 1999 Christopher Whitton
  • 1997 Robert Houssart
  • 1996 Iain Farrington
  • 1994 Peter Davis
  • 1993 Allan Walker
  • 1991 James Martin
  • 1990 Philip Scriven
  • 1988 Alexander Martin
  • 1987 Andrew Nethsingha
  • 1985 Robert Huw Morgan
  • 1984 Philip Kenyon
  • 1983 James Cryer
  • 1981 Andrew Lumsden
  • 1980 Adrian Lucas
  • 1978 Ian Shaw
  • 1976 David Hill
  • 1974 John Scott
  • 1971 Jonathan Rennert
  • 1967 Stephen Cleobury
  • 1963 Jonathan Bielby
  • 1960 Brian Runnett
  • 1956 Peter White
  • 1953 Alan Hemmings
  • 1952 David Lumsden (Assistant Organist)
  • 1951 James Bennett
  • 1947 George Guest
  • 1941 James Brown

Share this

Latest webcast

Recorded on
14 August 2017

From the archives, this webcast of Choral Evensong features the first performance of Dum transisset Sabatum by Composer-in-Residence, Michael Finnissy, which was written in response to John Taverner's setting of the same text; also featured in this webcast.

Latest news

Jonathan Vaughn

Congratulations to former Organ Student Jonathan Vaughn, who has been appointed Associate Director of Music at Christ Church, Greenwich CT

Choral singing comes no better

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer