EX CATHEDRA | Scholars

Supporting talented young singers is very important to Ex Cathedra and Jeffrey Skidmore.

Jeffrey founded Ex Cathedra in 1969, and his track record of identifying and supporting young singers is unrivalled. A long list of singers to have benefitted from working with Ex Cathedra at the beginning of their careers includes Carolyn Sampson, Nigel Short, Paul Agnew, Benjamin Hulett, Andrew Tortise, Samuel Boden, Marcus Farnsworth, Patrick Dunachie, Nick Ashby and many more.

We are thrilled that since 2017 we have been able to offer a Scholarship programme to support the next generation of emerging talent. Many of our former graduate Scholars now sing regularly with Ex Cathedra as established professional singers, including as soloists in our main season. You can read more about our former and current Scholars and Student Scholars via the submenu on this page.

Our Scholars and Student Scholars rehearse and perform with us throughout a complete season, earning a guaranteed minimum income, gaining on-the-job experience alongside our professional singers, and giving high-quality performances of repertoire, which ranges from Byrd, Monteverdi, Bach and Handel to Rachmaninoff, plus world premieres and recordings of music by Roxanna Panufnik, Sally Beamish, Liz Dilnot Johnson and Alec Roth.

Being a professional choral singer is such a unique vocation, with no real guide book on how to go about your work. Training with Ex Cathedra is that guide book which every young singer wants – lessons in how to be a professional in a safe, supportive environment.” 
(Ellie Sperling, 2018-19 Scholar)

We are now delighted to welcome applications from prospective graduate Scholars for the 2023-24 season – full details below.

Scholarships

Each year, Scholarships are awarded to the UK’s most promising young singers, musicians who have recently completed their formal education and are at, or near, the beginning of their professional careers. This scheme is open to singers from across the country, and the successful candidates receive financial support worth up to £4,100 each, plus agreed expenses.

Here are testimonials from two of our former graduate Scholars:

2023-24 application process

To check eligibility, understand the commitment and apply for 2023-24, please download our information and application pack (word/PDF).

Please complete the application form and indicative availability sheet that you will find within the pack, and return those with a reference from your singing teacher or equivalent.

Deadline for applications: Monday 12 June 2023, 5pm

Workshop & auditions day: Friday 23 June. Please save the whole day, we will advise on shortlisting and call times on or by Friday 16 June.

We are committed to a policy of equality of opportunity in its employment practices, and value diversity. To help us monitor and improve our ability to attract a range of applicants, we encourage applicants to complete our Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form, which is anonymous and does not form part of the selection process.

Student Scholarships

Additionally, Student Scholarships will be awarded to c.4 undergraduate or postgraduate students enrolled at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire each year.

Student Scholars will be in the vocal studies department at the Conservatoire and are expected to sing with the Conservatoire Chamber Choir. Auditions for the Chamber Choir usually form a key part of the selection process for the Student Scholarships.

Thank you

This scheme is possible, thanks for the financial support of several trusts and individuals. Ex Cathedra would like to thank them all, including: the Claverdon Fields Charitable Trust, Idlewild Trust, GMC Trust, S&D Lloyd Charity, all the pledgers and donors to our 2022 Big Give campaign, and those who have donated in memory of Alice Corser. Our thanks also to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire who support 4 of the Student Scholars each year.

If you, your company or your trust would like to support a Scholar in future, please contact Julie Watson, Grants & Individual Giving Manager.