Two of the most prestigious organ scholarships at Oxford University, together with places to read Music, have been won by Clifton College sixth-formers. Alexander Palotai (WaH) has been offered the Organ Scholarship at Worcester College; Bartosz Thiede (SH) the Parry-Wood Organ Scholarship at Exeter College. Both places begin in 2015, and were achieved following an intensive week of assessments in Oxford at the end of September involving interviews, playing and conducting trials, keyboard and aural tests, and written submissions. Competition is fierce, and draws the best young organists from around the UK and beyond.
Alexander currently serves as the Sir David Willcocks Organ Scholar jointly at Bristol Cathedral and Clifton College, and studies with Mr James Hills FRCO (Housemaster, ST) and Anne Marsden Thomas (Royal Academy of Music). He has received additional support from the the College through the Stanford Organ Prize.
Bartosz studies with Mr James Drinkwater FRCO (Assistant Director of Music) and has won funding for additional study days with the Royal College of Organists (RCO) and at a Cambridge Summer Organ Course thanks to the generosity of the Old Cliftonian Lodge.
Additional achievements for the pair since joining Clifton include Grade 8 Distinctions, successes at city music competitions, and passes in the components of the CertRCO and ARCO diplomas awarded by the RCO.
The College congratulates both pupils on their achievements - a rare double-success for any school, but in a fine tradition: former Cliftonian Oxbridge organ scholars include Douglas Fox (Keble) at Oxford, and, at Cambridge, Charles Matthews (Trinity), Andrew Nethsingha (St. John's), Boris Ord (Corpus Christi), and Sir David Willcocks himself (King's).