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Choir and Music Society

Robinson College Choir

The chapel is the centre for music at Robinson College and our choir is internationally renowned and performs across the UK and abroad, as well as giving regular concerts in the College. Usually, the choir has 20-24 members each year, though at present has peaked at over 30 members, many of whom are not reading music but wish to maintain musical activities alongside their studies. Choristers may be awarded 1 of 6 choral awards, worth £100 a year, and also receive a free formal hall dinner on Tuesday evenings after choral evensong, but otherwise they are unpaid for their services.

The choir is led by the Organ Scholars, of whom there are usually two, but occasionally three, depending upon the recruitment and graduation cycle of the incumbents at that time. Each organ scholar receives a grant of £300 per annum and music lessons at College expense. The organ scholars select and guide the choral and organ music programmes each year and, in some cases, they also compose new works for Robinson musicians.

Every few years, the Choir aims to make a recording of its work, which is made available to friends of the College and Alumni. In addition to the pleasure these recordings give to their listeners, it is an important part of the College record to keep an archive of its musical development. "Sing for the Morning's Joy", a CD of classic English Choral music, was completed in 2003, and a new recording of 20th century repertoire is currently being planned.

Robinson's choir tours annually, both abroad and in the UK, and has been broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 4. Most of its UK concerts are within 100 miles of Cambridge, which limits the cost of travel by coach to around £300 per performance. Concerts further away from Cambridge are undertaken from time to time as funds permit for the travel costs entailed. The tour of between 5 and 7 days, which alternates between the UK and overseas, costs on average about £5,500. Choristers each contribute towards this, but they must also raise the balance of around £2,500 through fundraising events, such as their annual Christmas and Champagne concerts, and sponsorship. Recent tours have taken them to the Czech Republic, Poland, Canada, Hong Kong, Scotland, the North of England and Cornwall.

Each year, the Choir and Musicians undertake a self-funding tour, and have visited various overseas countries and UK venues to represent Robinson, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Canada, Hong Kong, Scotland, the North of England and Cornwall. Make a gift to support the Choir at Robinson

The student choir website can be seen at

Robinson College Music Society

Robinson College Music Society (RCMS) is run by students, has a large and active membership, and puts on weekly concerts and recitals and an orchestral concert once a term. The RCMS together with the highly acclaimed College Chapel Choir gives opportunities to students of all musical ability to join together in musical performances. In addition, talented young musicians from elsewhere perform at College alongside our own students and together and independently they draw in outside audiences from the local area, the region and nationally.

In recent years, a number of Robinson students have held University Instrumental Scheme Awards. The Cambridge Instrumental Awards Scheme (IAS) was set up to provide opportunities for the best instrumental players across the University to play chamber music in specially set-up ensembles. Each award holder will be assigned an ensemble which could be anything from a string quartet to a piano trio to a wind quintet. The ensemble is required to give a certain number of performances each year, and will receive coaching from renowned chamber music experts. The IAS holders are awarded £75 per annum as well as a subsidy towards music lessons. Competition for these awards can be fierce, with only the very best instrumentalists receiving the awards. Holders of the IAS often go on to study music performance at a graduate level in conservatoires across the UK and Europe.