In 2019 the Southwark and South London Society of Organists (SSLSO) started a new initiative to help young musicians interested in learning the organ, called ‘Introducing the Organ’.
Five young people were awarded bursaries for organ lessons. The recipients were selected by application, and received their awards at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, where they heard a demonstration of the organ by the former Director of Music, Norman Harper, and had a play themselves. They also had several opportunities to perform in public over the year.
In 2021-2022 the scheme was revived and four more awards were made. There was an awards ceremony in January 2022 at St John’s, East Dulwich, with celebrated organist, conductor and broadcaster Anna Lapwood, who gave a recital and led a masterclass for the new organists.
Five more awards were made in the 2022-2023 scheme from a field of over 20 applicants.
The scheme returns for 2023-2024, with awards covering the cost of five organ lessons with a teacher either appointed or approved by the SSLSO, and some sheet music, up to the value of £300. Successful applicants will automatically join the society for a year’s free membership and will have the opportunity to play at events and masterclasses, as well as attend an award ceremony in the following academic year.
The scheme is intended for pupils/students/young people based in South London who haven’t had any organ lessons previously, and can play the piano to ABRSM grade 5 standard or above, although all applications will be considered.
The SSLSO exists to promote organ playing, and we hope that this scheme will play a part in nurturing a future generation of players of this wonderful instrument.
— Applications for 2023/24 are now open —