Organ Scholars

There are two Organ Scholars who assist the Director of Music in the running of the Choir. They accompany the Choir in its daily round of services and assist in the training of its Choristers at St John's College School. St John's boasts an impressive line of former Organ Scholars – see below and on our alumni page.

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

Alex Robson

Alex Robson
Organ Scholar

Alex Robson is the Herbert Howells Organ Scholar at St John’s College, where he is in his second year studying Music. Alongside accompanying the daily services at St John’s, he has performed for live broadcasts, recordings, and international tours with the College Choir, recently including concerts at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and the Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht.   

In 2021, Alex was Organ Scholar at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where he played for services and special events. In 2024, he was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO), receiving the Turpin and Durrant, Harding and Durrant, and Dr F. J. Read Prizes. 

Alongside the organ, Alex has played the piano and clarinet in the Kent Youth Wind Orchestra and Kent Country Youth Orchestra. He also regularly performs as a continuo keyboardist, recently including Bach’s St John Passion with the Cambridge Collegium Musicum.  

Alex studies the organ with Ann Elise Smoot and the piano with Marie-Noëlle Kendall, and has performed as a solo recitalist across the south of England. His other interests include cross-country running and foreign languages. 

Tingshuo Yang

Tingshuo Yang
Organ Scholar

Tingshuo is the Junior Organ Scholar at St John’s College, where he studies Music in his first year. He has shown an unquenchable thirst for music since his childhood, having his first piano lesson aged four. He studied at the Royal College of Music Junior Department from 2012 until 2016, attaining his DipABSRM aged 10 and LRSM two years later. He also studied at the Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg with Professor Jean Muller and was the winner of annual award of “Prix du meilleur laureat” in 2019. In April that year, Tingshuo made his solo debut with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2018, Tingshuo was awarded a music scholarship to Eton College, where he studied piano with Jenny Stern and organ with Philip Scriven and played regularly for the Lower and College Chapel Choirs. While at Eton, he attained his ARCO and in 2020, came runner up in the under-25s category of Composition Competition of the Royal College of Organists. In August 2023, he was highly commended in the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition and worked with David Hill as the organ scholar of the Charles Wood Festival in Armagh. Tingshuo has also been shortlisted for the NCEM Young Composers Award 2024. Currently, he studies organ with Colin Walsh. 

Tingshuo’s debut piano album, J. S. Bach: Clavieruebung Part I: Partitas, will be released on Luxembourg Classics in June 2024.

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.

The St John's Mander Organ

The Mander Organ, St John's College Chapel

Previous Organ Scholars

  • 2021 Alex Trigg
  • 2019 George Herbert
  • 2017 James Anderson-Besant
  • 2015 Glen Dempsey
  • 2013 Joseph Wicks
  • 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
  • 1947 James Brown

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Latest webcast

Recorded on
9 March 2024


A Meditation on the Passion of Christ is a service of music and readings reflecting on the Passion of Christ. This year the service features music by Byrd, Purcell, Weelkes and MacMillan, as well as the final piece of a triptych of works written for the choir by Joanna Marsh.

Latest news

Magnificat 4 includes two commissions written specially for the Choir of St John's College; Jonathan Dove's 2022 canticle setting St John's Service, and Judith Weir's 2011 service of the same name.

Winner of the 2008 Ivor Novello Award for classical music, Jonathan Dove CBE has composed a broad range of works and is one of the most successful British composers today. 

Jonathan was kind enough to share insights into his St John's Service, the compositional process, and what we can look forward to in the future.

The commitment, projection and natural energy of this choir have never failed to inspire me

Organists’ Review