Why Catz?

  • St Catherine’s has one of the larger college Music departments, with an intake of around 4 new students per year. College teaching is given by the Music tutor, Professor Laura Tunbridge, who is usually supported by two college lecturers. Class teaching linked to some subjects is offered by the Music Faculty; in other areas, tutors come in as required to help with other more specialized topics.
  • The College has its own Music house: a small purpose-built recital room with two grand pianos and a harpsichord, which doubles as a practice-room for College. All Music students at St Catherine’s also have an electronic keyboard in their room, for use with headphones.
  • St Catherine’s offers a repetiteur scholarship designed for pianists interested in accompanying and conducting; the duties are split between assisting with practical music in the college and acting as repetiteur with the Oxford-based 'New Chamber Opera' company. More information about the repetiteur scholarship can be found here.
  • Up to three Leask Scholarships are offered per year, giving financial assistance in instrumental tuition.
  • St Catherine’s has a flourishing college Music Society which puts on concerts and arranges small ensembles of various kinds.
  • The Cameron Mackintosh Chair of Contemporary Theatre is based at the College, holders of which have included Stephen Fry, Diana Rigg, Tim Rice, Patrick Stewart, and Michael Frayn. Thanks to this the College has exceptional links with contemporary theatre; many of our students take an active part in acting, writing, and directing in Oxford and beyond.
  • Although St Catherine’s is a 20-minute walk away from the Music Faculty, the walk is nothing if not beautiful; a bicycle speeds things up considerably. The College is actually situated very close to the Holywell Music Room, one of the first purpose-built concert halls in the country (Haydn was one of the earliest of many major composers who have performed there), which functions as the Faculty’s main public performance venue. The walk to the Faculty through the centre of town takes you past the Bodleian Library (ten -minutes from the College) and the city-centre shops, including all the book-shops and Blackwells Music Bookshop (CDs, scores and text books).
  • St Catherine’s has one of the larger college libraries in the university, a convenient place to work as well as borrow books, open till 12pm on weekdays during term.

Number of places usually available at St Catherine's: 4

Click on the video (left) to watch former St Catherine's student Mark Simpson discuss Music at Oxford.

Henfrey Prize for Composition

A prize for a new piece for solo piano (duration between 5-15 minutes), by any student (undergraduate or postgraduate) at the University of Oxford, whether or not they are studying music. (Students who have graduated within the past two years are welcome to apply.) The piece should have been composed within the last three years and should not have been performed in public before. Preparing the instrument is allowed, so long as no damage is done.

The deadline is 30 April 2017. A shortlist will be drawn up from the submissions. In Trinity Term 2017 (19 June) the shortlisted pieces will be workshopped and discussed at St Catherine’s College by a professional pianist and the panel, and a recording will be made available. There will be an informal concert at the end of the workshop, when the prize may be awarded. The panel reserve the right not to award a prize. The winning piece may be performed again in a public concert.

The winner will be awarded £1000.
The panel will consist of the Music Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Tony Henfrey, and composers Mark Simpson and Anthony Payne. For further information please contact


Associated Staff

BMus Lond, MSt Oxf
College Lecturer in Music
BA, MMus East Ang, DPhil Oxf
College Lecturer in Music
BA Oxf, MA Nott, PhD Princeton
Henfrey Fellow and Tutor in Music
Professor of Music