Choral Graduate Programme

It's a hard time to be making your way as a young singer. We've listened to what current undergraduate and graduate singers feel would be most helpful as they seek to take their next step. We hope to attract exceptionally talented graduate altos, tenors and basses who are considering applying to conservatoire, a future in professional choral singing, work in academia or education, or who just want a year to take stock, work on their singing, and receive clear advice that will help them decide on the right path.  

Christopher Gray, Director of Music

About the Programme

From September 2024 the Choral Graduate Programme takes the place of our established Lay Clerk scheme. In addition to a competitive professional salary, the Programme provides support and mentorship to help young singers get to the next stage in their careers.

Choral Graduates join the undergraduates and Choristers in our celebrated College Choir here at St John's under the direction of Christopher Gray. The Choir offers a superb environment for vocal and musical development, with a distinctive, warm sound that encourages free and expressive singing. During term time, the Choir sings seven services per week. In addition, there are regular concerts, CD recordings, broadcasts, and international tours. As members of the Lower Voices of the Choir, Choral Graduates also sing in the Gents of St John's, performing at external engagements and hosting events like the Gents' Garden Party and Gents at the Maypole. 

Led by distinguished bass-baritone Alex Ashworth, the Choral Graduate Programme offers bespoke guidance, masterclasses with leading professionals, singing lessons, and an allowance to be spent on musical development such as language coaching, consultation lessons, or the cost of music college applications. 

Singing at St John’s was, for me, a dream come true, and the ideal start to my career as a singer: with the launch of this new Choral Graduate Programme, I am delighted to have the opportunity to help you at the start of your journey, whichever direction it may take you."

Alex Ashworth

About Alex Ashworth 

Alex Ashworth, a renowned concert and opera singer teaching at the Choir of St John's College and the Royal Academy of Music, brings extensive experience to the Choral Graduate Programme. As a graduate of St John's College and SJCC, Alex understands the journey from Choral Scholar to professional singer.

Reflecting on his own experience, Alex shares, "During my time as a Choral Scholar at St John’s, I thought that I might want to go on and study singing as a postgraduate and then pursue it professionally. However, I wasn’t sure how to go about that, or what full time study of singing would entail. When I arrived at the Academy for my postgraduate course, I found there was quite a change in style of learning, compared to my first, academic, degree: it took some time to adjust. This new Choral Graduate Programme, established by Chris Gray and lead by me, aims to help with those, and other, questions."

"As a Choral Graduate, alongside your regular singing lessons, you will receive one-to-one mentoring. We’ll discuss your individual needs, your future plans, and take steps to bring those plans to fruition. As appropriate, we’ll develop repertoire, look for opportunities, and consider contacts."

Choral Graduates will have access to leading coaches, directors, and teachers, focusing on various aspects of their craft each term. From selecting and preparing repertoire to refining stage-craft and presentation, the Programme offers comprehensive support for aspiring professional singers.

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Recorded on
9 March 2024


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