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

Choir: People

Reed Rubin Organist & Director of Music

Benjamin Nicholas is our Director of Music, and in September 2018 becomes Principal Conductor of the Oxford Bach Choir. In recent months he has appeared as a conductor with the BBC Singers, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and the Holst Singers. In June he made his debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Elgar’s The Apostles.
Ben's work at Merton has included the founding of the annual Passiontide Festival, the installation of the Dobson Organ and the creation of the College's Girls' Choir, which sang for the first time in October 2016. He has conducted the College Choir in concerts in the USA, Italy, Sweden and France, on BBC Radio 3 & 4 and BBC TV, and on a series of recordings for Delphian, the first of which was a Gramophone Editor's Choice. His other recordings include discs of Weelkes, Mozart, Stainer, Stanford, Rutter, Gabriel Jackson, Richard Allain, and the organ works of Elgar
Ben has conducted many first performances, and premiered a new work by Charlotte Bray with the City of London Sinfonia in Southwark Cathedral. In the Cheltenham Music Festival he premiered new choral works by Judith Weir, Hannah Kendall, Dobrinka Tabakova and Kerry Andrew, and at Merton he has commissioned Birtwistle, Dove, MacMillan, Jackson and Joubert.
Ben was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral and has held organ scholarships at Chichester Cathedral, Lincoln College, Oxford and St Paul's Cathedral. He is a former Director of Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum and the Edington Music Festival.

Email: Benjamin Nicholas

Assistant Organist and Organ Scholar
(L-R) Tom Fetherstonhaugh and Alex Little - Photo: © KT Bruce
(L-R) Tom Fetherstonhaugh and Alex Little - Photo: © KT Bruce

Alex Little is the Assistant Organist and is in his first year studying for an MPhil in Music. He was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral, started learning the organ with David Dunnett there in 2007, and is now taught in Oxford by William Whitehead. He has played recitals at Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk and the church of St Lawrence Jewry in London.

Tom Fetherstonhaugh is Organ Scholar and is studying music. He was a chorister at Westminster Abbey where he sang for both daily and State services, including the Royal Wedding in 2011. He studied violin and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department and has formed the Fantasia Orchestra. He started learning the organ with Iestyn Evans at the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in 2011. When not doing music, Tom cycles, runs, and occasionally plays the viola.

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.