[St John's College Cambridge]
[St John's College Cambridge organ]

The high standard of the Chapel music at St John's College Cambridge has long been one of the yardsticks by which other musicians and choirs are measured. However, over the years, it became increasingly obvious that the organ was no longer able to contribute effectively.

The music at St John's College Cambridge is extremely varied, and the demands made on the Chapel organ no less so. First and foremost, it is essential that the instrument can accompany an unusually wide range of liturgical music as authentically as possible. Second, it has to balance the choir over an unusually wide dynamic range. At the same time, it is equally essential that the organ is an outstanding recital instrument and one that can inspire organ students, as every good teaching instrument should.

All these requirements were taken into consideration when the new organ for St John's College was designed. Apart from a handful of pipework on the Pedal Organ and the two strings of the Swell Organ, all the pipework is new. The interesting cases designed by J Oldrid Scott were modified slightly both to improve their overall appearance and to allow them to project a little further into the Chapel itself.

The inspiration behind the tonal conception of the instrument was the English organ of the mid-nineteenth century. This was developed in order to provide a flexible and versatile instrument capable of a musical rendering of a large part of the organ repertoire. The key action is mechanical and suspended, and the drawstop action is also mechanical but fitted with heavy-duty solenoids to allow the inclusion of a comprehensive capture system.

Since its completion, this instrument has been used for a number of recordings, both in accompanying the world famous choir of St John's College and also as a solo instrument. Many people will know this instrument from the traditional annual broadcast of the Advent Carol Service from St John's.

[St John's College Cambridge, organ console]
[St John's College Cambridge, organ]
Double Open Diapason 16 Bourdon 16
Open Diapason I 8 Open Diapason 8
Open Diapason II 8 Rohr Gedackt 8
Stopped Diapason 8 Salicional 8
Principal 4 Voix Celeste 8
Gemshorn 4 Principal 4
Wald Flute 4 Stopped Flute 4
Twelfth 2 2/3 Fifteenth 2
Fifteenth 2 Sesquialtera II
Flageolet 2 Mixture IV
Full Mixture III Oboe 8
Sharp Mixture III Vox Humana 8
Cornet V Double Trumpet 16
Trumpet 8 Cornopean 4
Clarion 4 Clarion 4
  Choir to Great     Tremulant  
  Swell to Great     Solo to Swell  
  Solo to Great      


Open Diapason 8 Subbass 32
Gedackt 8 Open Diapason Wood 16
Gamba 8 Open Diapason Metal 16
Principal 4 Dulciana 16
Flute 4 Bourdon (ext 32') 16
Nazard 2 2/3 Principal 8
Fifteenth 2 Bass Flute 8
Flautina 2 Fifteenth 4
Tierce 1 3/5 Flute 4
Mixture II-III Mixture IV
Cremona 8 Contra Trombone 32
  Tremulant   Ophicleide 16
  Swell to Choir   Fagotto 16
  Solo to Choir   Posaune 8
    Clarion 4
SOLO ORGAN   Choir to Pedal  
(Enclosed)     Great to Pedal  
Viola da Gamba 8   Swell to Pedal  
Viola Celeste 8   Solo to Pedal  
Hohl Flute 8    
Flauto Traverso 4    
Corno di Bassetto 8    
Cor Anglais 8    
Tuba Mirabilis 8    
Trompeta Real 8    

  • Suspended key action
  • All mechanical couplers
  • Mechanical drawstop action, with heavy duty solenoids for a comprehensive multi-level capture system with separate memory levels for General Pistons and Departmental Pistons

Project Leader Ian Bell
Consultant Revd Dr Nicholas Thistlethwaite
Technical Design Stephen Bicknell (Team Leader)
Construction Ralph Beddoes (Works Manager), Harry Austin, Terry Hobart, Kevin Rutterford (Workshop Foremen)
Site Assembly Jim Birch (Team Leader)
Voicing David Frostick, Michael Blighton
Tonal Finishing David Frostick, Michael Blighton