Director of Music Vacancy

St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen: Director of Music – 22 hrs/week

 Cathedral Profile

St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, is the Cathedral Church of the United Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney, one of the seven diocese of the Scottish Episcopal Church, in full communion with the Anglican Church worldwide. The Diocese is located in the north east of Scotland and covers Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Orkney, the Shetland Isles and a small part of Moray and includes 43 congregations. The Cathedral’s own congregation is drawn from throughout the city and beyond and encompasses a rich socio-economic and ethnic-cultural diversity. There is a strong West African presence which has brought a significant increase in the number of children in the congregation. St Andrew’s Cathedral is also the “mother church” of the American Episcopal Church as their first bishop, Samuel Seabury was consecrated in Aberdeen in 1784.

Worship at the Cathedral has its emphasis on the Eucharist. Worship is in the Cathedral Choral Style with an emphasis on liturgy. Generally, the 1982 Scottish Liturgy is used for the main 10.45 Sunday Service with occasional Choral Mattins. Choral Evensong is sung on Sundays during school term time. The Revised Common Lectionary is used for the Eucharistic services and the Scottish Prayer Book Lectionary for Mattins and Evensong. Hymnody is from the New English Hymnal and psalmody from the Scottish Prayer Book (1929). There are also Celebrations for major Feast Days and on other days including Diocesan Services. There are occasional ecumenical activities such as three Cathedrals service (St Mary’s RC Cathedral and St Machar’s Church of Scotland Cathedral).

Under the direction of the current Organist and Master of the Choristers the Cathedral Music has flourished during the last 35 years. The Cathedral Choir comprises boy and girl trebles aged 7 upwards recruited from local schools and Lay Clerks (voluntary singers) who sing alto, tenor or bass. The adults are supplemented by six Choral Scholars, drawn mainly from the University of Aberdeen, who sing approximately one service per week. In addition, there is a group of Adult singers, Cathedral Voices, who sing approximately once a month either with the Lay Clerks or to supplement the main choir on special occasions.

The choir makes a tour annually during the summer holidays, usually for one week, to sing the daily services at one of the cathedrals or major churches in England.  There is also usually a Lay Clerks’ weekend away in early spring.

There is a paid position for an Organ Scholar/Assistant Organist who will be recruited at the beginning of the University Academic Year who generally accompanies the Choir while the Organist directs.

The Cathedral is frequently used for concerts by local music groups and choirs. There is also a very successful Saturday lunchtime recital series, organized by the Cathedral organist, which takes place 52 weeks a year and has been running for over 10 years.

The Cathedral Organ is a historic instrument dating back to 1818 but significantly enlarged since that time. It sounds very fine, but has had no major work carried out on it since 1984.  Some repairs to the leather work were carried out in 2015/16.

Job Description

Duties and responsibilities:

Provision of music for worship

  • Provide choir and organist for two Sunday services weekly during term times, agreeing music in advance with the Cathedral Provost.
  • Provide choir and organist for special services during seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Holy Week and Easter, agreeing music in advance with the Cathedral Provost.
  • Provide organists to cover main Sunday morning Eucharist outside term time.
  • Provide organist (and choir if required) to cover occasional weddings and funerals.

Choir training and development

  • Organise and lead choir rehearsals of both children and adults
  • Organise and manage training for choristers (RSCM Voice for Life), both one-to-one and in small groups
  • Manage choir recruitment (children, adults and choral scholars), including auditions
  • Organise music for and assist in the general organisation of choir tours
  • Lead outreach and community activities such as musical contributions to services in care homes or services around the Diocese


  • Play the organ as required
  • Recruit and train (or organise training for) the Cathedral Organ Scholar
  • Take responsibility for and organise the maintenance of the organ, the Cathedral piano and the other pianos owned by the Cathedral.


  • Liaise with and advise clergy and the wider Cathedral team on musical matters
  • Liaise with the other St Andrew’s Cathedral organists
  • Liaise with parents of choristers, notifying them of the trebles’ rehearsal and service schedule
  • Liaise with Lay Clerks, Choral Scholars and Cathedral Voices, notifying them of their rehearsal and service schedules
  • Maintain and develop good relationships with the Diocese, Diocesan staff and choirs, for example through Diocesan services
  • Liaise with music staff and clergy of other denominations and choirs in the city
  • Maintain a good relationship with the University’s music department


  • Organise the music for weekly Sunday services, special occasions and midweek services as required based on the Scottish Episcopal liturgies (mainly 1982 and the Scottish Prayer Book)
  • Ensure that best practice is followed with regard to protection of children (and vulnerable adults) in the choir
  • Assist in the management of the Cathedral at Noon concert series
  • Act as a point of contact for and provide advice to Cathedral management on concerts at the Cathedral by external groups
  • Be responsible for the Cathedral music budget and purchase music as required
  • Take responsibility for copyright licences
  • Organise safe storage and maintenance of the Cathedral music library
  • Organise maintenance of the Cathedral choir robes


  • Significant experience of choral conducting and the ability to work and engage with singers of all ages and abilities
  • Qualified to Diploma level in organ playing or equivalent
  • A high standard of musicianship
  • A good understanding of the traditional Anglican (Scottish Episcopal) liturgy and its weekly and annual rhythm, ideally, with experience of delivering Cathedral choral worship
  • Ideally, experience of working in a Cathedral environment or equivalent

The post is available for three years in the first instance.  It is evaluated at 22 hrs/week, with an annual salary of £11,100.  The successful applicant would have free access to the Cathedral organ and pianos for private practice and teaching purposes and would be encouraged to supplement his or her income by developing a portfolio of private music tuition, accompanying and/or examining.

Requests for further information may be directed to the Cathedral Office, email

Applications comprising a CV, covering letter and contact details of two referees, should be submitted to the Cathedral Office by email at

The closing date for applications is 30 April 2019.

 Person specification

  Essential Desirable
Qualifications Qualified to Diploma level in organ playing or equivalent.
Knowledge and experience A high standard of musicianship

Significant experience of choral conducting and working with singers

An understanding of Christian liturgy and its weekly and annual rhythm

An understanding of Cathedral choral worship

Experience of working with children

Significant involvement in delivering church music

A good understanding of the traditional Anglican (Scottish Episcopal) liturgy and its weekly and annual rhythm

Experience of training children’s choirs

Experience of working as a musician in a Cathedral environment or equivalent

Skills The ability to communicate with a wide range of people

Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships

Excellent teamwork skills and experience of working in and, ideally, leading teams of staff and/or volunteers

Well-developed organisational and time management skills

Flexibility and a willingness to adapt plans


Experience of communicating well with a wide range of people, from children to senior clergy and others outside the Cathedral community

Experience of leading varied teams

Other requirements Working evenings and weekends

Willingness to obtain a PVG disclosure

Computer literacy, including familiarity with common music notation software packages

Current PVG disclosure or equivalent