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Since the College’s founding in 1557, there has nearly always been an organ in St John’s Chapel. Although the College was functioning in 1556, and thus able to utilise the money endowed to the choral foundation (some £5,000), the organ which the College acquired was lent to Trinity College until St John’s was formally opened in mid 1557. Subsequent organs boasted famous builders such as Thomas Dallam, whose organ was torn down in 1651 as a result of political upheaval in Britain.
The current organ was installed in 2008, the first English work of Bernard Aubertin, a French organ builder. Sitting at the West End of the chapel, tuned to Thomas Young’s temperament (which dates from 1800), it has been called a truly contemporary instrument, drawing design aspects from many historical periods, most notably the French Classical school, but also early nineteenth century English techniques (such as the unique double-division Récit). Whilst the flue-work is stunning, it is the unique solo colours, and the wealth of them, that make this organ one of the most exciting instruments in the country – it is truly an inspiring theme for performance and worship.

Find out how this amazing instrument was installed in the Chapel in our timelapse video The Building of the New Chapel Organ [a Quicktime video].

See some beautiful pictures of the College organ on the Organ Gallery page.


Contact details

St John's College
St. Giles, Oxford OX1 3JP
Work Tel: 01865 277300
Fax: 01865 277435
University of Oxford