Former Assistant Organist Alex Little playing the Dobson Organ - Photo: © John Cairns -

Choir: People

Reed Rubin Organist & Director of Music

Benjamin Nicholas was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral before holding organ scholarships at Chichester Cathedral, Lincoln College, Oxford and St Paul's Cathedral. After a period as Director of Music of St Luke’s Church, Chelsea, he was Director of Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum for twelve years.

Benjamin is currently Director of Music at Merton College, Oxford and Music Director of The Oxford Bach Choir. As a conductor, he has appeared with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Florilegium, The BBC Singers and The Holst Singers in works such as Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony and Holst’s Savitri.

Benjamin Nicholas has been involved in the commissioning of a great many works, and conducted the premiere of Charlotte Bray’s Bach Re-imagined in Southwark Cathedral with the City of London Sinfonia, Howard Goodall’s Veni Sancte Spiritus in Westminster Abbey and numerous choral works by Kerry Andrew, Birtwistle, Chilcott, Dove, Jackson, MacMillan, Martin, Muhly, Tabakova, Weir, and Wilby in Tewkesbury and Oxford.

As an organist, Benjamin has appeared in concert with the Tallis Scholars, and has most recently given recitals in Bath Abbey and Munich Dom. This year he will give recitals in King’s College, Cambridge, Belgium and Rome.

Email: Benjamin Nicholas

Organ Scholars
Kentaro Machida - Photo: © John Cairns -
Kentaro Machida - Photo: © John Cairns

Kentaro Machida is Senior Organ Scholar and is in his third year studying music. He started learning the organ at Magdalen College School with Malcolm Pearce in 2014, and during his gap year, he served as Organ Scholar for Sherborne Abbey/School, where he studied with Margaret Phillips. He also plays the piano, french horn, and is currently the student conductor of the Oxford Studio Orchestra. He currently studies organ with Christian Wilson, and conducting with Roland Melia.

Owen Chan (in the foreground) playing the Dobson Organ
Owen Chan playing the Dobson Organ

Owen Chan is Junior Organ Scholar; he is in his second year studying Mathematics and Philosophy.

Vocal Coaches

Carys LaneGiles Underwood, and William Purefoy are the College's Vocal Coaches. They work with the Choral Scholars on a regular basis whilst continuing to give concerts both in the UK and abroad.

Patron of the College Choir

Peter Phillips, founder and director of The Tallis Scholars, is Patron of the College Choir. It was Peter’s idea that the College should consider establishing a Choral Foundation. Along with Benjamin Nicholas, he was a Reed Rubin Director of Music from 2008, a post he held until 2016. His involvement included recordings, tours and broadcasts, as well as conducting the choir on a number of occasions each term. The College is enormously grateful for Peter’s enthusiasm for the Choral Foundation and is delighted that he has accepted the honorary position of Patron. Peter is also a Bodley Fellow of the College.