Vacancy: Assistant Organist

Assistant Organist

(post available from September 2017)

The Priory Church of Saint Bartholomew the Great, parish church of the benefice of Great St Bartholomew, is London's oldest surviving church, having been neither burned nor bombed. Founded in 1123 as an Augustinian Priory, it has been in continuous use since at least 1143. Within the parish is also the Hospital Church of St Bartholomew the Less. The Smithfield area, which includes St Bartholomew's Hospital and Smithfield Market, has a large number of restaurants, bars and pubs both north and south of the Market and, at its heart, the Priory Church. The area is in the process of change and development with the Crossrail Farringdon station being built to the north and the redevelopment of former hospital building to the south to form 236 new apartments and considerable office and retail space.

Drawing on their nearly 900-year history, our churches today are noted today for their remarkable architecture, traditional formal worship (in the Anglo-Catholic tradition), intelligent preaching and high-quality music.

The Churchwardens and Director of Music now seek to appoint an Assistant Organist to join the team of professional musicians. He or she must be an accomplished organist and accompanist in sympathy with the liturgical and musical traditions of the church. It is desirable but not essential that he or she may also be experienced in directing vocal ensembles made up of professional singers.

The two main services on a Sunday (consisting of a Solemn Eucharist at 11:00 – rehearsal at 10:00 – and Choral Evensong at 18:30 – rehearsal at 17:30) are usually supported by a choral director, organist and 8 professional singers. There are no Sundays in the year when there is not music provided by an organist and choir – although in the summer and other occasions, this is reduced to either a quartet or cantor, and the service may be in St Bartholomew the Less, which has a two manual organ, or in the Lady Chapel of St Bartholomew the Great, where this is a single manual chamber organ.

There are in additional choral services on Ash Wednesday, Christmas Night and Christmas Day, as well as during Holy Week (on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) . There are also very many extra services: weddings, livery services and carol services.

Currently services are accompanied with a 3-manual Viscount electronic organ but plans are well under way for a new 4- manual American Symphonic organ to be built by Schoenstein of California.

The Assistant Organist will be required to:
• Enrich the liturgy with appropriate, colourful and interesting improvisation
• Accompany the professional choir in a wide variety of Anglican repertoire
• Accompany plainchant taken from the Graduale Romanum
• Accompany hymns with flair and freedom of harmonisation
• Provide fitting Postludes for each service
• Direct the choir when the Director of Music is not present (subject to experience)

The Assistant Director of Music Organist is paid monthly in arrears for the services undertaken. He or she will be free to arrange a deputy in his or her their absence (a list of deputy organists will be provided and an agreed maximum number of Sunday absences established for the year). The total fees for every regular service amounts to approximately £6.5k with an additional £5.5k of extra weddings and other services usually available during a typical year.

The Assistant Organist will be contractually obliged to attend all the accompanied services on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, throughout Holy Week, Easter Eve, and on Easter Day.

The successful candidate will be an experienced musician whose professional abilities will include a high degree of liturgical sensitivity, the ability to improvise fluently, a good provision of solo organ repertoire, and a strong ability as an accompanist in all styles of repertoire. He or she will be a good communicator and a team-player with a desire to contribute sensitively to the church’s worship to the best of their his or her ability.

Candidates should submit a CV and application letter/email to (click link to do this). Interviews will be arranged by mutual convenience over the summer.