The St Mary’s Cathedral Scholars are a group of young men who were previously Choristers in Saint Mary’s Cathedral Choir, and sing together as an elite choral ensemble. The Scholars continue their choral career while they are still at the Cathedral’s choir school, St Mary’s Cathedral College.
The Scholars sing regularly at Cathedral liturgies: on Wednesday evenings during term they sing Vespers together, and then join the junior Choristers for Mass at 5.30 p.m; on two Saturdays a month they sing First Vespers of Sunday and then they sing at the 6 p.m. Mass. For concerts and major feasts they join forces with the main Cathedral Choir. The Scholars also have the opportunity to make domestic and international tours, and to sing concerts.
The Cathedral Scholars’ programme is unique in the way it offers continued training and opportunities for regular singing to its Choristers after their voices change: this demonstrates the Cathedral’s commitment to the ongoing musical development of the young men in its care. Some Scholars go on to choral and musical careers in Australia and abroad; some even return to sing in the Choir as Lay Clerks!
Koen van Stade, Director of the Cathedral Scholars
A graduate of both the Amsterdam Conservatorium and The Royal Conservatory of The Hague, Koen van Stade is a performing scholar with an international career who majored in Voice, Organ, and Conducting.
Since 2016 he has been principal Lay Clerk and the Director of the Cathedral Scholars. Koen is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney under the supervision of Neal Peres da Costa, focusing on the vocal performance practice of the 19th century.
He received his initial training as a boy soprano in the St Laurence Cathedral Choir in Alkmaar, The Netherlands. He went on to study at both Amsterdam Conservatorium and The Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He specialised in Gregorian Chant at the Schola Cantorum Amsterdam.
During his studies, Koen began working as an ensemble member of the most prestigious Early Music groups in Europe, including Collegium Vocale Ghent and The Amsterdam Baroque Choir. He sang more than 2,000 concerts in major international cities on every continent with these ensembles, and recorded over 60 CDs and hundreds of radio and television broadcasts.
Since relocating to Australia in 2009, Koen has worked as an Academic Tutor at St John’s College, University of Sydney; and as a Vocal Tutor at the King’s School and at Sydney Grammar School. He is currently working as a casual Lecturer at the Historical Performance Faculty of Sydney Conservatorium of Music.