One of the great strengths of music in Charterhouse is the quality of teaching. There are six full-time members of staff, all of whom bring a considerable breadth of professional experience to their teaching, providing pupils with a huge variety of musical opportunities at the highest level.

Music Scholarships are generous and competitive and the Director of Music, Mark Shepherd, usually meets prospective Music Scholars and their parents at the outset of their process of choosing a school. (Details of all bursaries and scholarships are available in the Admissions section). Whatever the musical interest of pupils, Charterhouse offers them a stimulating musical environment to help them reach their potential.

Full details of the curriculum are available in the Under School (Years 9-11) Curriculum and Sixth Form Curriculum sections.

To learn more about Music at Charterhouse please view our video below:

Music | Video Clip

 Music for Everyone

Music has a long and fine tradition at Charterhouse, and Ralph Vaughan Williams was a pupil in the early days in Godalming. About half the pupils have music lessons, and many participate in other musical activities, like the House Music Festival or the Oratorio Choir.

Pupils regularly perform in ten minute recitals during quarter (the morning break), and there is a host of choirs and ensembles: Chapel Choir, Chamber Choir, Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, Jazz Band and Brass Ensemble and Concert Band. Whatever the musical interest of pupils, Charterhouse offers a stimulating environment to help them reach their potential.

 During an academic year, our regularly scheduled musical events include:

Annual Musical Events

Oration Quarter (Autumn)

Long Quarter

Cricket Quarter

Piano Prizes
Ten-Minute Recitals
Candle-lit Carols
*Celebrity Concerts

House Music Festival
Oratorio Concert
Brass Prizes
Composition Prize
The Band Show

Organ Prizes
Concerto Concert
House Concerts
Prep Schools’ Concert

The Band Show

Every year the Jazz band puts on a variety show in the Ben Travers Theatre, featuring music of the Glenn Miller era and comedy sketches.

The Band also plays at functions outside School and its foreign tours include the USA, Disneyworld, Malta, Sicily, Paris, Spain and other destinations.

Chamber music

Chamber Music has always been an important part of the Charterhouse musical scene, and many Carthusians pursue it later on in life, as amateurs or professionals. 

Over the last few years many Charterhouse ensembles have taken part in the National Chamber Music Competition for Schools, and a good number have reached the final concert, which is the platform for the winners of the competition. These samples are taken from a CD comprising recordings of some great chamber works, and represents some recent highlights of Carthusian chamber music-making.

The Chamber Orchestra

Candlelit Carols From Charterhouse

The Charterhouse Chamber Choir was one of nine school choirs chosen by Eagle Radio to be heard by an audience of 149,000 listeners across Surrey and Hampshire over the 2015 Christmas period. On Christmas Eve, Eagle Radio played 'Stille nacht'  from Charterhouse’s Candlelit Carols. A selection of carols, including 'Stille nacht' are available below:

Away in a manger| mp3

Stille Nacht| mp3

Jingle Bells| mp3

Ding Dong Merrily on High | mp3  

Candlelit Carols from Charterhouse CD

Candlelit Carols, sung in the cavernous space of Charterhouse Chapel, has become one of the most celebrated events of the School calendar. The ceremony begins with a procession from the West End of the Chapel to which is sung the advent hymn, Come thou Redeemer of the Earth. A dialogue of readings and carols follows, finishing with the easterly procession to the Truth from Above. Many people attend some from a considerable distance, others from Godalming and from the School community itself. It is an occasion for the School to welcome visitors and to be enriched by the experience, whilst all who are there welcome in the spirit of Christmas.

Available (mail order) from School Shop, price £10. Phone or email: 01483 291635 [email protected]

Four movements from Wenlock Edge - Vaughan Williams

Pupils performed in a concert of chamber music at St Martin in the Fields, London in 2014. Some audio excerpts from the performances are below:

On Wenlock Edge | WMA

From far from eve and morning | WMA

Oh when I was in love with you | WMA

Bredon hill | WMA

Brahms & John Ireland

Brahms - Piano Quartet in G minor | WMA

John Ireland - Concertino Pastorale - 3 Toccara | WMA

Brahms Quintet

Five pupils from Charterhouse U14 Violin Quartet were awarded 'Chamber Champions' in the Pro Corda, Chamber Music Festival for Schools (CMF) 2016. The prize from CMF was to perform a concert in Suffolk, part of which is available to view below.

The Chamber Orchestra CD

The Chamber Orchestra has released a new CD of popular string music. It was recorded in Chapel over the last two years by a professional recording company. The programme includes Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony, Holst’s St Paul’s Suite, a movement from  Dvorák’s Serenade for Strings, Barber’s Adagio, and John Ireland’s Concertino Pastorale.

Available (mail order) from School Shop, price £10. Phone or email: 01483 291635. [email protected]


String Music from Charterhouse

The String Orchestra has been for many years at the centre of a long tradition of string playing at Charterhouse. Concerts include regular appearances at both the School and at St Martin-In-The-Fields in London.

Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, op.35| WMA

Contact Information

To make an appointment to meet Mark Shepherd, Director of Music, please contact the Music Department:

Telephone: +44 (0)1483 291696
Email: [email protected]

Charterhouse Terminology

Video Collection

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