St. Paul’s Organ Scholarship


St. Paul’s within the Walls Episcopal Church – Rome

St. Paul’s wishes to appoint one Assistant organist from September 2018 to June 2019 as well as giving opportunity to one or more organ scholars to take part in the music life of the church. Both positions will offer a great variety of music experiences. The assistant organist position’s age limit is 27; there is no age limit for the organ scholar position.

The Assistant Organist and Organ Scholars will:

– assist the Organist and Director or Music in planning, organizing and performing of music for all services and concerts. – attend all the main musical events of the church regularly. More precisely:

  1. a) attend church Services (Sunday Eucharist, occasional other services) b) attend choral rehearsals and participate by singing or playing for services, rehearsals and concerts c) attend the church’s own concert series d) be responsible for the choral music archive

The Assistant Organist and Organ Scholars will have the opportunity to gain a great variety of experience, including:

  1. a) playing preludes and postludes and singing or conducting the church choir for the Sunday Services. b) accompanying and conducting choral rehearsals in collaboration with the Director of Music. c) practicing regularly on the church’s organ and pianos. d) taking part in the concerts (singing, playing organ/continuo, conducting). e) occasionally substituting for the Director of Music.

A room at the church (single room with shared kitchen and bathroom) will be provided for the Assistant Organist for the duration of the scholarship. Free accommodation at the church cannot be guaranteed for the organ scholars, but a room might be reserved for a minimum of 3 months renewable 3 times at the cost of € 500 (including utilities) per month. If needed, the church can help in searching for other solutions as well as giving occasional opportunities for earning money with various jobs.

Applications should be made before June 15th.

In the application, the candidate shall present himself/herself with a short Biography and present his/her more specific goals (improving organ repertoire / choral conducting skill, composition, other specific interests). To accompany the application, the candidate shall submit 3-4 short video clips or youtube links of contrasting organ works selected from the following list. 1) Works by J. S. Bach One Prelude, Toccata or Fantasie and fugue of medium difficulty (preferably one of the following: BWV 531, 533, 535, 537, 543, 545, 549, 565) and a Trio Sonata movement or a chorale from the Schübler, Leipzig or Clavierübung collection.

2) Romantic works One short work of medium difficulty by F. Mendelssohn, R. Schumann, J. Brahms, C. Franck, M. Reger, Ch. M. Widor, M. E. Bossi, F. Liszt, C. V. Stanford, H. Parry.

3) modern works One short work of medium difficulty by L. Vierne, J. Alain, O. Messiaen, M. Dupré, P. Hindemith, S. Karg-Elert, L. Janacek, F. Peeters, P. Eben, Ch. Ives, H. Howells, K. Leighton, N. Rota.

The total timing for the works selected should be comprised between 10’ – 20’

Any other material related to the candidate’s musical skills and interests will be appreciated (voice recordings, conducting videos, chamber or choral music, other). If necessary, the Director of Music may also send a pdf of a short organ works which the candidate should learn and record within a short period of time.

Those applying only for the organ scholar position can submit their bio and 2 short video clips of 2 contrasting organ pieces (preferably one by J. S. Bach).

St. Paul’s music program has many facets, and its needs vary every year: the Assistant organist will be selected and appointed also considering how his/her skills will meet the actual needs of the church for the season 2018/19

Regardless, send all applications and inquiries to:

A comment from our Organ Scholar 2014-2015, James Grimwood.

“My time in Rome has been far better than anything I expected, and I have relished the opportunities I have had here at St. Paul’s. Stefano is an absolute pleasure to work with and the wide range of experience which I have accumulated will be to my great advantage as I take up an organ scholarship at the University of Cambridge next academic year. This job, while most suited to a ‘gap year’ Organ Scholar, is ideal for anyone who wishes to live in a foreign country and work with musicians of the highest caliber. The Rector and the community of St. Paul’s have been extremely supportive and the choirs here offer the Organ Scholar different respective challenges; whilst it was wonderful for me personally to discover Stefano’s interest in early English music, the choirs sing a great variety of music. Furthermore, independently of the official scholarship itself, I have had time for composition and opportunities to engage in ecumenical dialogue, to freelance and to gain experience in teaching. Without hesitation, I would happily encourage anybody with any of these qualities and interests to apply for this unique role.”

A comment from our two organ scholars 2015-2016, Julia Alsop and Carter Leer

My time working in Rome at St Paul’s, with Stefano, has been a most enriching experience. It has enabled me to develop my experience in organ and choral music: playing for concerts, services and other events, choral conducting, and singing in the choirs, whilst being closely mentored by Stefano. No doubt this scholarship is unique also in its international aspect, being in Rome certainly has allowed opportunities beyond what I’d have gained from staying in UK – it has allowed me to spend my gap year living abroad independently in a new culture and language, as well the great possibilities for day trips! The scholarship here also has allowed me to have the time to be able to dedicate to building my repertoire, and being part of wider music in Rome, something that will greatly benefit me as I move on to an organ scholarship at Oxford University this Autumn. Many thanks to Stefano, Austin and all the staff at St Pauls for the encouragement and allowing this opportunity to thrive.

My experience in Rome has been amazing. Working for Stefano has helped me understand all that goes into being a church organist. From singing in multiple choirs, to playing the organ during concerts, I have had musical experiences here that I will never forget. The staff and members of St. Paul’s have been encouraging in both the musical endeavors of the organ scholar position, as well as taking advantage of living in such an amazing city. Running the church’s Sunday concert series Luminaria was also a wonderful experience. I got to meet talented musicians from many different backgrounds, and also got to appreciate the importance of music in church life, especially St. Paul’s. Outside of St. Paul’s, I have been able to explore the city of Rome and various cities in Italy in a way I never thought I would be able to. I have met people that I will be friends with for the rest of my life. I would recommend anyone who wants an opportunity to grow musically, socially, and spiritually to apply to this Organ Scholar program.

A comment from Eric Foster, Organ Scholar 2016-2018

The Organ Scholarship at St Paul’s Within the Walls is a unique experience of life as an organist and musician in the heart of Rome. It has been a great joy to be part of the wonderful community at St Pauls, under the watchful eye of maestro Stefano Vasselli. The church has a busy music scene which provides a plethora of opportunities, with organ playing, singing and accompanying various choirs all regular weekly commitments. Furthermore within and outside of St Paul’s there are chances to conduct, sing and play for other ensembles and choirs within Rome. The scholarship gives time to focus on practising and building up organ and choral repertoire, important for any student pre or post-university. Of course, living in Italy for a year is a wonderful experience in itself, and the scholarship allows for time to explore other parts of the country and its extraordinary culture. Overall, my time at St Pauls has been hugely musically, socially and culturally enriching. I cannot reccomend it highly enough to any young organists looking to experience Anglican church music with an Italian flavour!


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