Music plays a very important role in the life of Trinity Hall and is overseen by the College’s Director of Music, Andrew Arthur. All genres of music are encouraged and there are countless opportunities to get involved, whether by simply making use of the College’s musical facilities, by singing in the chapel choir, or by attending or performing in one of the many eclectic solo or ensemble concerts presented by the Trinity Hall Music Society.
“ I was really excited about the WongAvery Music Gallery before I came to Trinity Hall. I play the piano, so I was excited to be able to use that space for practice, and that they had a grand piano to use. It just seemed completely mind-blowing that you would just be able to book out the room and practice on the grand piano. ”
— Kate, undergraduate student
Trinity Hall participates in the University’s Intercollegiate Instrumental, Choral and Organ Award Schemes.
Trinity Hall has two organ scholars in residence at any one time, appointed through the University’s Intercollegiate Organ Award Scheme. In line with all other participating colleges within the University, the value of the organ scholarship at Trinity Hall is currently £450 per year and organ lessons are paid for entirely by the college. These can be taken with any of Cambridge’s regular visiting teachers or any other approved teachers. In addition, Organ Scholars are given free singing lessons with a visiting professional teacher and are accommodated in a fine set of rooms in the centre of college for three years, equipped with a piano and telephone. Formal Dinner is also provided free of charge after all chapel services throughout term.
Whilst the Director of Music will typically conduct the majority of services each term, his role is also to offer professional advice and guidance (including lessons in choral accompaniment, conducting and rehearsal technique) and the Organ Scholars are given ample opportunity to direct the choir in rehearsals and services, and to take much responsibility for the day to day running of the music in chapel in consultation with the Director of Music and the Dean. In addition to the choral services outlined above, the organ scholars are also required to play for a short service of communion each Sunday morning during term, that involves playing hymns and voluntaries, and additional, occasional services such as weddings and memorial services for which fees are paid.
Trinity Hall is a member of the Intercollegiate Choral Award Scheme, which allows the Director of Music to combine choral scholars appointed at the University Choral Trials with singers auditioned upon arrival as ‘freshers’ (both from Trinity Hall and from other colleges) as members of the chapel choir. Choral scholarships carry with them the standard University award of £100 per year, as well as free formal dinner following all choral services, free singing lessons with a visiting professional teacher, choral workshops with the College’s professional Ensemble in Residence and an invitation to the Scholars’ Feast during their time at Trinity Hall.
In addition to their wider role as members of the larger chapel choir, choral scholars at Trinity Hall have opportunity to sing together as a small-scale vocal consort in their own right, both in service and concert situations.
Trinity Hall participates in the Intercollegiate Instrumental Awards Scheme which was set up to enable gifted players to reach a high standard of performance in classical chamber music. The Scheme is available to players of the following instruments: Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon & French Horn.
Award-holders are expected to give priority to rehearsals (about six hours per week) with their ensembles. Successful applicants will be placed in an ensemble by the Scheme’s managers. Members of the ensembles may come from any College. In their second and third year, award-holders are able to express preferences about the type of ensemble in which they would like to play (for example, wind quintet, string quartet, piano trio), and the award-holders with whom they would like to be grouped.
Instrumental Award-holders receive a small financial award (currently £75), as well as a subsidy towards instrumental lessons, and free chamber music coaching from major professional coaches, including the Endellion and Fitzwilliam String Quartets, pianist Ian Brown, and oboist Celia Nicklin. A Distinction at Grade VIII of the Associated Board, or other equivalent qualification, should be considered a minimum standard for application for an Instrumental Award.
Trinity Hall also offers its own annual Instrumental Award (to a value of £500), the purpose of which is to offer financial support toward the musical development of an outstanding College musician (reading any subject) whose instrument is not catered for by the University’s Instrumental Award Scheme. Players of all other musical instruments associated with any tradition or genre are eligible to apply. The principal intention of the award is to support the cost of regular instrumental lessons. However, a contribution to other relevant expenditure can also be considered; such examples may include (though not be limited to) approved overseas musical study, attendance fees for an approved instrumental course and/or the purchase of relevant musical equipment. The Award holder is expected to play a significant role in the musical life of the college and to offer a full-length solo recital within the Trinity Hall Music Society series during the year in which they hold the Award.
Auditions for this award are held in mid-November each year, and all current students are invited to apply. Application instructions are sent to current students by the Director of Music.
Orpheus Britannicus was welcomed to Trinity Hall as ‘Ensemble in Residence’ in 2008, since which time each season has seen a highly successful series of concerts and has offered some unique opportunities to current Trinity Hall students to engage with the musicians in the context of ‘open’ rehearsals, master-classes and private lessons.
Orpheus Britannicus has established itself as one of the most dynamic period-instrument and vocal ensembles to have emerged in recent years. Its players and singers are drawn from some of the UK’s leading performers in their field. Founded by Andrew Arthur in 2002 and based in London, the group has enjoyed great success, building a reputation in particular for its expressive and emotional approach to the rich vocal chamber repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Recent performances have included Handel’s newly discovered Gloria for Soprano and strings, J S Bach’s complete cantatas for solo voice, Zelenka’s Lamentations, Buxtehude’s cantata cycle Membra Jesu nostri and numerous solo songs, dialogues and odes by Henry Purcell and John Blow. Recent choral projects at Trinity Hall with the Orpheus Britannicus Vocal Consort include four contrasting programmes of 17th century English verse anthems, Venetian motets, German Romantic motets and music by S S Wesley.
Orpheus Britannicus also regularly assumes orchestral proportions, and has enjoyed some fine collaborations with the London-based Chandos Chamber Choir. Performances in this guise have included J S Bach’s Johannes Passion, Handel’s Coronation Anthems, Dixit Dominus, Messiah, and verse anthems and Welcome Odes by Henry Purcell. Future engagements include J S Bach’s Messe in H-moll and ‘Lutheran’ Missae. The name Orpheus Britannicus is taken from the title of Henry Purcell’s two great volumes of songs, published by Henry Playford in 1698 and 1702 respectively.