Music and the Arts
Dance, poetry, drama, photography, sculpture, creative writing or music? Whatever your artistic passion, there's a way for you to develop, share and enjoy it at St Hilda's.
A message from the Director of College Music, Dr Jonathan Williams
With concerts, exhibitions, workshops, readings and drama productions all taking place within College, St Hilda's students enjoy one of the most exciting college-based cultural environments in Oxford. St Hilda's award-winning Drama Society puts on a performance each term.
St Hilda's commitment to music is particularly strong and its facilities are world class. At our Jacqueline du Pré Music Building - with its Steinway D concert grand piano, recording studio and well-equipped practice rooms - you can be sure that whatever your musical tastes, you will have every opportunity to enjoy music. If you play an instrument or sing then you can join our orchestra or choir and take part in the termly concerts at the JdP and at the University Church. You could form your own chamber ensemble or band, or just make the most of our wonderful practice facilities. And of course, we have a world-class venue where you can attend free recitals every Thursday lunchtime during term and where you can hear professional concerts for as little as £5. Keeping reading for more information and feel free to contact me about how to get involved.
The Choir of St Hilda's College, Oxford
The Choir of St Hilda's College is at the heart of the College, performing at the big college events throughout the year. Highlights include performances of Fauré's Requiem, Haydn's Nelson Mass and the premiere of Nicola Lefanu’s cantata Hilda of Whitby, all with the orchestra at the University Church. The choir represents the College further afield too, most recently going on tour to Herstmonceux Castle. In February 2019, the 60-strong choir, swelled by college alumnae, performed Fauré’s Requiem at the fifth of our successful ‘Come and Sing’ events at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin.
Our Assistant Conductor and Accompanist is Tom Carr, one of St Hilda’s third-year musicians. Rehearsals are in the JdP every Thursday from 5.30pm until 6.45pm, followed by a FREE meal and wine in the college dining room. No audition is necessary and all are welcome to come and sing.
In 2018 EIGHT Choral Scholarships were created thanks to the generous support of college alumna and JdP Patron, Louisa Hemming. Each scholarship is worth £200 a year. Auditions are held at the start of Michaelmas Term. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Saturday 12 October (end of week 0), and short auditions will take place during the afternoon/evening of Tuesday 15 October (week 1). Applications and any queries should be sent to the Director of College Music, Dr Jonathan Williams.
Michaelmas Term Events
Wednesday 13 November (week 5) – Founders’ Day service at the University Church
Wednesday 4 December (week 8) – Christmas Concert at the University Church
Thursday 5 December (week 8) – Carols on the Stairs
The College Orchestra and other ensembles
The college orchestra performs once a term after a period of focussed rehearsal. There are, in addition, numerous other smaller-scale chamber groups such piano trio, wind quintet and string quartet. The college jazz band performs regularly too.
Thursday lunchtime concerts
St Hilda's College is unique in offering weekly concerts performed by members of College, students from across the University and professional musicians. These half-hour events are held at the JdP on Thursday lunchtimes during term, starting at 1.15pm. Entry is FREE. They are a wonderful opportunity to enjoy music in a friendly atmosphere and to take a break from work for a while.
The Jacqueline du Pré Music Building (JdP)
The Jacqueline du Pré Music Building (JdP) is a purpose-built world class concert venue built in memory of the outstanding cellist and honorary fellow of St Hilda's, Jacqueline du Pré. With as many as 50 events taking place at the JdP every term, there's always something to enjoy. A list of all the events is available on the JdP website. College members enjoy significant discounts on ticket prices.
At the heart of the JdP is the Edward Boyle Auditorium (with our superb Steinway model D grand piano), a recording studio and four practice rooms which house a Steinway model B grand piano, four new Yamaha upright pianos (including one 'silent' instrument) and a harpsichord. These rooms are available to all St Hilda's students, seven days a week, from 7am to 11pm (subject to recordings and concerts). You can book the practice rooms here.
The JdP Team
James Adcock, JdP Manager
Dr Jonathan Williams, Director of College Music
Professor Martyn Harry, Tutor in Music
Danielle Battigelli, Education and Community Co-ordinator