About the Cathedral Choir

King Henry VIII established the Collegiate Foundation “Ecclesia Christi Cattedralii Oxon: ex fundatione Regis Henrici Octavi” in 1546. Today, Christ Church is a unique joint foundation: both a college of the University of Oxford and the Cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford.

This foundation originally included one Organist and eight Lay Clerks, but now, at any one time, consists of approximately sixteen Choristers (boys), six Lay Clerks (professional adult singers) and six Academical Clerk (undergraduates) who are also known as Choral Scholars, in addition to the Director of Music (who bears the official historic title of ‘Organist’), the Sub-Organist, and one or two Organ Scholars. Christ Church was delighted to appoint its first female Clerk in September 2019.

The choir has been a central part of Christ Church since its foundation, and has attracted many distinguished composers and organists, from its first director/organist, John Taverner, to William Walton in the twentieth century. In recent times, the choir has commissioned and recorded works by composers such as John Tavener, William Mathias, Robert Saxton and Howard Goodall. The current Director of Music is Steven Grahl.

The choir's primary role is to sing daily services in the Cathedral, but the choir also undertakes a busy annual schedule of concerts, broadcasts, tours, and recordings.

The normal weekly pattern of services for the Cathedral Choir is as follows:

Sunday

9.45am Matins
11am Sung Eucharist
6pm Evensong (rehearsal 5pm)

TUESDAY-FRIDAY

6pm Evensong (Thursday: 6pm Sung Eucharist) (rehearsal 5pm)
 

SATURDAY

6pm Evensong (rehearsal 4.45pm)

The 6pm service on Monday does not usually involve the Cathedral Choir.