Vocal and choral music at York

Choral and vocal

Our department has a unique focus on vocal music, with courses and ensembles run by several internationally respected professional performers.

Whether a singer or instrumentalist, as a music student you will receive a comprehensive programme of support for your performance studies. For an undergraduate student this includes five 60-minute lessons a term (you can top this up but we find this is about right) alongside weekly performance classes ranging from masterclasses with distinguished visiting artists to workshops in audition technique, performance psychology and teaching skills.

See our team of vocal teachers.

Opportunities to perform are central to your development, and these are plentiful, whether as a soloist or in an ensemble, as part of a module assessment, the concert series, or your own event.

All students have a performance supervisor to support them throughout their time at York. For vocalists this is Robert Hollingworth, a professional singer and conductor with over 30 years of international experience. He is also the founder and director of I Fagiolini, one of the UK’s most innovative solo-voice groups.

Specialist advice on historically-informed performance is available from conductor and keyboardist Peter Seymour, who has numerous recordings and broadcasts to his name, and is director of the Yorkshire Bach Choir.

Robert and Peter are available all year to advise on singing issues.

"What is going on chorally at York is having a real impact on the business. The days of the traditional strongholds of choral music dominating the professional music scene are being excitingly challenged. The University of York is turning out wonderful singers, both as soloists and consort members.

David Clegg
Choral Manager, The Gabrieli Consort/ORA Choir

Collaborative consort singing 



There are many choirs at the University of York and you will have further opportunities to sing at churches and non-church choirs in the town. You can also join the Opera Society, Gilbert and Sullivan Society and Central Hall Music Society, each of which put on performances throughout the year. The University of York choirs include: 

  • The 24 
    Advanced choral singing with intriguing programming – collaborations with I Fagiolini.
  • Chamber Choir 
    Repertoire-based choir including programmes with chamber orchestra.

Choral scholarships

There are several opportunities for paid singing work in York including York Minster’s well-paid Minster Scholarships for altos, tenors and basses. The Music Department is pleased to announce its own new choral scholarships (for 2019-20 entrants) for two awards of £1,000 per year.  This will continue until the Department has two choral scholars in each undergraduate year. 

In short, we’re serious about singing.

 “It is hard to imagine a more positive place for a young singer to unlock their full potential than York Music Department. It is bursting with high-quality performance opportunities of every kind, and free-flowing creativity is nurtured and encouraged by experts in the field.”

Alex Ashworth
Singing teacher, Royal Academy of Music & University of York

Find out more about our choral scholarships.