Here was clarity,

precision and

dramatic sweep.

Vincent Plush - The Australian
  • Graham Ross
  • The Sir William McKie Senior Organ Scholar
  • Junior Organ Scholar
  • Senior Choral Volunteer
  • Senior Choral Scholar
  • Choral Scholar

Who's who

  • Graham Ross

    The Director of Music

    The Director of Music is always willing to meet with prospective music students and Choral Scholars at any point throughout the year

    Graham Ross is Director of Music and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Responsible for all practical music-making in the College, he builds on and seeks to enhance the continued excellence of musicianship of Clare’s instrumentalists, composers, conductors, and the internationally-renowned Chapel Choir. He continues to broaden the liturgical repertoire by commissioning new music, and to develop the Choir’s schedule of concerts, broadcasts and international tours. Since he returned to Clare as Director of Music in 2010, he has established a new recording relationship for the Choir with Harmonia Mundi, instituted the Clare College Masterclass Series, Friends of Clare Music scheme, Clare Choir Alumni Association and secured tours around the world.
    He has established an exceptional reputation as a sought-after conductor and composer of a very broad range of repertoire. His performances around the world and his extensive discography have earned consistently high international praise, including a Diapason d’Or, Le Choix de France Musique and a Gramophone Award nomination. As a guest conductor he has worked with Australian Chamber Orchestra, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, Aurora Orchestra, Salomon Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Mozart Players, European Union Baroque Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Singers, as well as acting as Assistant Conductor to Vladimir Jurowski. He is co-founder and Principal Conductor of The Dmitri Ensemble, and, since 2010, Fellow and Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge.
    At the age of 25 he made his BBC Proms and Glyndebourne debuts, with other opera work taking him to Jerusalem, London, Aldeburgh and Provence. A passionate believer in the unveiling of both unjustly-neglected and newly-written works, he has conducted and recorded world premières of a wide spectrum of composers, including James MacMillan, Judith Bingham, Giles Swayne, Vaughan Williams, Imogen Holst, Nico Muhly, Brett Dean and Matthew Martin. Since 2011 he has recorded exclusively for Harmonia Mundi.
    As a composer commissions have included BBC Concert Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, O Duo, Park Lane Group, and the Solstice Quartet. As an animateur and through outreach work he has conducted projects in Tower Hamlets, Wigmore Hall, English National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and overseas in Nigeria, Palestine, across Europe and the USA. He is Artistic Director of Fringe in the Fen, a music and arts festival in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
    He studied music at Clare College, Cambridge and conducting at the Royal College of Music, London. He held a conducting scholarship with the London Symphony Chorus, has served as assistant conductor for Sir Roger Norrington, Vladimir Jurowski and Diego Masson, and acted as Chorus Master for Sir Colin Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Ivor Bolton, Edward Gardner, Richard Tognetti and Lars Ulrik Mortensen.
    Graham Ross is always willing to meet with prospective music students and Choral Scholars interested in applying to Clare College at any point throughout the year. There will be an opportunity to offer advice, informally sing a piece of your choice, and to discuss the choral admissions process.
  • The Sir William McKie Senior Organ Scholar

    Ashley Chow

    Ashley Chow, is in his third year reading Natural Sciences at Clare College. He grew up in Hong Kong and started playing the piano and violin at the age of six. Before Cambridge, he studied at Harrow School as a music scholar, where started playing the organ and took lessons with Martin Singleton. There he assisted choir rehearsals, performed as a soloist and regularly accompanied school services.

    At Harrow, Ashley enjoyed being a member of Harrow’s orchestras and chamber groups, performing works such as Orff’s Carmina Burana and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. He has had the opportunity to perform at St John’s Smith Square, Winchester Cathedral and Royal Albert Hall in the UK and in Bangkok, Beijing and Hong Kong whilst on tour with the orchestra.

  • Junior Organ Scholar

    George Gillow

    George Gillow, is a first year student reading Music.  During the academic year 2017–18, he was organ scholar of Gloucester Cathedral where he assisted in the accompaniment of the four Cathedral choirs, the Cathedral’s programme of singing outreach in primary schools and the administration of its busy music department.  

    During the academic year 2018–19, he studied organ and harpsichord at the Toulouse Conservatoire with Michel and Yasuko Bouvard.  Whilst in Toulouse, he appeared in concerts alongside the choir of the Conservatoire – the Maîtrise de Toulouse – notably for a performance of the Duruflé Requiem

    On a freelance basis, he accompanied amateur choirs for performances of the Fauré and Campra Requiems, Mozart Great Mass in c and Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle.  He is an experienced recitalist and has given recitals at Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucester, Hereford and Southwark Cathedrals.

  • Senior Choral Volunteer

    Joseph Payne

    Joseph Payne is Senior Choral Volunteer and a countertenor in the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. He read Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Clare College, graduating in 2019, and is now studying for his Graduate Diploma in Law. Joe has sung with the Choir for four years and, among many other engagements, took part in a tour of Asia during the summer of 2016 which included a sell-out concert in the Petronas Filharmonik Hall with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Before Cambridge, Joe sang with the choir of Salisbury Cathedral and the Rodolfus Choir. He is also an Under-30s Ambassador for Glyndebourne Opera and has attended masterclasses with James Bowman, Iestyn Davies and Julie Cooper.

    He says:

    “My experience of singing at Clare for the last four years has been both hugely enriching on a musical level and provided the basis for forming many valuable friendships and memories. There are very few university choirs in the country which cover such a broad range of repertoire and engagements; this makes weekly services a challenging commitment and deeply rewarding in equal measure. I could not have wished for a better highlight to my time at Cambridge.


  • Senior Choral Scholar

    Jess Hopkins

    Jessica Hopkins is a third-year undergraduate reading Music at Clare. She sings as a soprano in the Choir of Clare College and is the Senior Choral Scholar. Jess studies classical voice with Nicola-Jane Kemp, and as a soloist she has participated in masterclasses with figures such as Yvonne Howard and Roger Vignoles, as well as reaching the semi-final of the Clare College Song Competition in February 2019. Jess recently performed Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the Musique Cordiale International Festival and made her operatic debut at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

    During the rest of her spare time in Cambridge, Jess enjoys ballet classes and performing with the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society.

    Jess says:

    “Having never sung in a chapel choir before coming to Clare, the experiences I have had here over the past few years have been some of the most exciting, challenging and fulfilling of my life so far. Naturally, getting to travel and perform across Europe, North America and East Asia have been particular highlights, but I never anticipated how many friends for life I would make and how much I would develop as a singer and as a musician during our weekly chapel services.”


  • Choral Scholar

    Helena Mackie



    Helena is a third year undergraduate at Clare reading Music. She began singing at a young age and was a member of Salisbury Cathedral Girls’ Choir from 2007-2012. During secondary school she was in the oboe section of the National Youth Orchestra for four years, and was principal in her final year. She currently studies oboe with Nicholas Daniel and singing with Robert Rice. Outside her degree and choir commitments Helena enjoys playing in various orchestras and arranging for Clare de Lune, an upper voices a cappella group. 

    Of her experiences in Clare Choir, she says:

    “Singing in choir is such a fantastic way to experience a really high standard of music-making on a regular basis. We get to sing hugely varied repertoire in a way that no other type of musical ensemble really does simply because of the number of services we sing and performances we give. The tours we went on last year were so much fun, especially the USA and Malta, and getting to see some of your best friends four times a week in a place as busy as Cambridge is one of the best aspects of choir.”