Common Time 2019

Winchester College

Music Overview

For details of this term's concerts, please see our Music Diary and our Visiting Artists Series.

Music has been central to life at Winchester ever since its foundation in 1382 when William of Wykeham made provision for 16 choirboys, Quiristers, who still provide the treble line for the Chapel Choir. Past organists and Masters of Music include such esteemed figures as Thomas Weelkes, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, and Sir George Dyson. Music is an important activity in the lives of most Wykehamists: two thirds of the boys learn an instrument, while many learn two or three. There are over seven hundred individual instrumental lessons given each week by a visiting staff of over fifty specialist teachers as well as six highly experienced full-time staff.

Concerts take place every week, and all boys are given the opportunity to perform, whether as part of one of the elite ensembles, or in an informal concert, House choir or Glee Club (the school's Choral Society). There are two orchestras, a string orchestra, a Baroque ensemble, string quartets, a double reed ensemble, clarinet ensemble, jazz and blues groups, rock groups, a flute ensemble, brass ensembles, five choirs, numerous smaller ensembles, and a regular programme of chamber music, as well as informal concerts that enable every boy to perform. The School is also active in commissioning and performing new music for their choirs and instrumental ensembles. For further information about the different musical opportunities available, please follow these links:

Instrumental Ensembles
Academic Music

The Music School, which is located centrally, offers excellent facilities for music-making, with a large rehearsal and concert hall, fifty teaching and practice rooms, a fully-equipped music technology classroom, recording studio, editing suite, percussion studio and rock room. New Hall, which was extensively refurbished in 2014, provides an outstanding performance space, with seating for 400, excellent back stage facilities and first-rate acoustics, while the College Chapel provides an inspirational venue for choral and instrumental music.
The College offers music scholarships and exhibitions to boys who show musical promise and who are keen to contribute to the musical life of the school. There are currently over sixty Music Scholars and Music Exhibitioners in the school. Ex-cathedral and collegiate choristers are particularly welcome, and parents are encouraged to contact the Master of Music in advance of application.
Another important aspect of music at Winchester is our work with the local community. This includes membership of the Hampshire Music Service Hub, concerts for primary schools, joint concerts with local choirs, chamber music workshops with sixth form colleges and members of Hampshire Music Service ensembles, and public access to all our concerts, the vast majority of which are free. The department also runs a local ‘music and dementia' programme.
Boys are usually able to participate in masterclasses, workshops and concerts given each year by visiting artists. Recent visitors have included Martin Roscoe, Professor Colin Lawson, James Bowman, David Owen Norris, the Škampa Quartet, and The King's Singers.

Our aim is to enable every boy to experience the highest quality and the widest range of music-making, whether as a performer or listener. These web pages are designed to indicate this range and quality of music-making. If you have further enquiries, please contact the Master of Music, Mr David Thomas .