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Music | Great St Mary's Church | The University Church, Cambridge Music – Great St Mary's Church


Music is a central part of our life here at Great St Mary's. We hold a commitment to the highest standards we can achieve and also seek to include all who want to participate — we pride ourselves on our open and welcoming atmosphere.

Great St. Mary’s has a dual role as a Parish church, and church to the University of Cambridge. As such, it has always attracted musicians of the highest calibre. Our majestic and beautiful sanctuary is one of few to boast two fine pipe organs, which are often used together for special services. We are blessed to have five choirs, an orchestra, the Michaelhouse Chorale, and recitals throughout the year.


With five choirs and a long tradition of great choral music, Great St Mary’s is justly proud of our choral offerings. The Director of Music, Sam Hayes, is always keen to hear from keen and committed singers interested in joining our community of music makers here. To read more about the choirs, please visit the choirs page.

During school term time, three choral services are held at Great St Mary’s on Sundays:

Parish Communion (Common Worship): 9.30am

Choral Mattins (BCP): 11.15am

Choral Evensong (BCP): 5.30pm

Outside of school term time, these services may be sung congregationally. Twice a term the historic University Sermon is delivered in place of the 11.15am Mattins service.


Our orchestra, the Academy of Great St Mary’s, was founded by Adam Pounds, in 2007. The Academy performs four major concerts per year, plus a number of smaller, chamber music, baroque or light music concerts. Players are drawn from across the city and University, and beyond. To read more about the orchestra, please visit the orchestra page.

Michaelhouse Chorale

Michaelhouse Chorale is a choir, open to all, which meets in Michaelhouse every Friday at 2.30pm. It was founded in 2007, and is a joint venture between Michaelhouse and Arts and Minds, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation for Arts and Mental Health.


We run a Summer Series of Free Lunchtime Recitals, as well as regular lunchtime recitals and concerts. For more information about upcoming recitals, please visit the Recitals page. If you would like to give a recital, contact the Music Administrator at music@gsm.cam.ac.uk.

Orchestral Concerts

The Orchestra and Choirs of Great St Mary’s present four large concerts a year, in March, June and September, with a Grand Christmas Concert two Sundays before Christmas. There is also a programme of smaller concerts throughout the year. For more information, visit the Orchestra pages.

Visiting Choirs

We are always very happy to welcome visiting choirs to sing for any of our choral services at Great St Mary’s or for weekday recitals.  Visiting groups are especially welcome during the summer months and other periods where our regular choirs are on holiday, but we aim to be as flexible as possible.  In recent years, our worship has been graced with performances from choirs from as far afield as Canada and Russia, but we are equally happy to accommodate local choirs looking for somewhere new and exciting to sing.

Music in our services fits naturally into the English Cathedral style, so church and cathedral choirs will find themselves particularly at home here. We are always keen to welcome singing groups from any tradition, and have enjoyed hearing gospel choirs and choirs from the Orthodox tradition leading worship from our choir stalls. For more information, download our Guidelines for Visiting Choirs 2016 and Guidelines for Visiting Organists (2016)

To discuss a visit, please contact the Music Administrator, music@gsm.cam.ac.uk.

Find out more


Orchestra (the Academy)


Organs and bells


Planning a concert?

If you would like to stage a concert of your own in one of our two beautiful churches, please contact the office at either Great St Mary’s (office@gsm.cam.ac.uk), or Michaelhouse (manager@michaelhouse.org.uk) or visit the Concerts page. We will be very happy to discuss arrangements and look forward to welcoming you!