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The course for organ scholars at Universities and cathedrals

29 - 31 August at Oxford

Advance is a course designed to help bridge the gap from studentship to professional life. Whether you are an organ scholar at a university or a cathedral, or studying the organ at conservatoire, the course will tackle various skills which can add vital lustre to your CV:

  • Choir-training skills: Gesture and listening, with Jeremy Summerly
  • Improvisation: Building up from simple beginnings, with Jean-Baptiste Dupont
  • Liturgy and Music-list planning: What clergy need, and why, with Simon Jones, Chaplain of Merton College
  • Repertoire and technique: On and off the beaten track, with William Whitehead

A further unique opportunity is to be had on this course;
The Sixteen’s young artists scheme, ‘Genesis’, will also be in residence at Magdalen College, and there will be the opportunity for some course-members to work with Co-Directors Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan in developing consort-training skills. Whether as a continuo player, a repetiteur or a conductor, many of you will encounter some of today’s highly-polished consorts in your professional life. Experience something of this world and gain valuable insight!


The fee of £300 covers tuition, and accommodation, breakfast and dinner at Magdalen College.


You may be able to persuade your college or cathedral to contribute, or perhaps we can offer bursaries to support those who cannot afford the fee.



William Whitehead 

The director of the course is a sought-after organ virtuoso, teacher and jury member, and the presiding genius behind The Orgelbüchlein Project. A popular andeloquent teacher, William is a fount of knowledge on matters stylistic and technical.


Jeremy Summerly 

Choral conductor of huge experience and searing talent, whose work can be heard on over 40 CD recordings and frequently on BBC Radios 3 and 4. Currently Senior Academic Studies Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Music, he knows everyone in the professional music world.


Jean-Baptiste Dupont 

Organist of Bordeaux Cathedral, a brilliant improviser, and partway through recording Reger’s complete organ works, Jean-Baptiste is a passionate advocate of the organ repertoire and rising star of the French organ firmament. 


David Goode 

Organist and Head of Keyboard at Eton College, home to an important collection of historic instruments and some of the UK's most talented young organists; he combines this with a concert career that takes him to all parts of the world. 

Oundle for Organists Summer School

Courses for young organists during the Oundle International Festival

14-20 July at Oundle, Northamptonshire 

Playing the organ can be a solitary sort of experience: there may not be many or even any other organists at your school. But on Oundle for Organists courses you’ll soon make new friends – kindred spirits with the same interest – in an informal, non-competitive environment, and leave with valuable awards to encourage your musical life!

Because the Summer School takes place during the Oundle International Festival, students have a free pass to many festival events. This presents a unique opportunity to broaden your musical horizons, hearing a broad range of music, while simultaneously being immersed in organ repertoire.

In our Festival, the organ takes its rightful place at the heart of musical life!

typical age range 14-22


The allinclusive fee for the Summer School is: £620.  Once we have offered and you have accpeted a place, a deposit of £200 will be due within two weeks and the balance (£420) by 13 June.


You may be able to persuade your school or church to contribute, or perhaps we can offer bursaries to help support those who cannot afford the fee.  (See General Information section).

Trips Out

There will be days out to Peterborough where you will play the great Cathedral organ, and to Cambridge for workshops at the consoles of the wonderful College Chapel organs.

Festival Events

Students will have free admittance to many musical events of the Oundle International Festival.


Oundle courses are non-competitive but the tutors assess your standard, progress and potential. Following the course each student receives a written report from our tutors. Awards are offered to further encourage students in their organ studies.

Books and Scores: all students receive books, scores or magazine subscriptions thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and individual supporters.

Presentation Recital: students will be selected to play in an end-of-course composite recital which will take place in Oundle School Chapel on Sunday 20 July.

Recital Awards: each year we offer selected students the opportunity to play at cathedrals, churches and colleges throughout the UK.


Students will live in one of the Oundle School boarding houses, all of which are comfortable and well-equipped. Full board is provided, and the Common Room will be the focus for social events including the popular quiz night.



Ann Elise Smoot 

OfO’s new Director, a prizewinning organist, busy concert and recording artist and renowned teacher.


Henry Fairs 

Head of Organ Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire, and one of the most exciting organists at work today - currently playing the complete works of J.S. Bach over three years and throughout Europe.


Stephen Farr 

Heard at the BBC Proms, and in recital all over the world, with a vast repertoire and immaculate technique - you will learn so much from just watching him play!


James Lloyd Thomas 

Longstanding OfO tutor and choir director, now Organist at the University of Sussex. One of the world’s most experienced teachers of young organists!


Robert Woolley 

The renowned English harpsichordist and organist, co-founder of the Purcell Quartet and a prolific recording artist. He will give a harpsichord recital and a masterclass.


Anne Page 

The brilliant Australian organist, now based in Cambridge - her expertise in ‘early’ and Romantic repertoires is invaluable.


Choir of King’s College London directed by David Trendell 

One of the great university choirs, “as passionate as it is disciplined” - a unique opportunity for OfO students to learn ‘hands on’ by conducting a real choir!


Colm Carey  

Acclaimed as a sensitive and thoughtful musician, the Belfast City Organist is a compelling solo performer and inspiring teacher.


Iain Quinn  

Now based in Florida, he is not only a transatlantic highflying organist, but a composer and musicologist also. An expert multi-tasker!


Richard Hills 

Another Proms artist - his solo recital was a highlight of the 2013 season - Richard combines ‘classical’ and ‘light’ music in a unique career. Organist at St Mary’s, Bourne Street in London, he is a liturgical organist of great distinction and a superb improviser.

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We use a great collection of mechanical-action organs both in Oundle and in nearby villages. These include:

3-manual and pedal Frobenius
in Oundle School Chapel

2-manual and pedal Bower
in the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

2-manual and pedal Woodstock
in Fotheringhay Church

2-manual and pedal Harrison & Harrison
in Woodnewton Church

2-manual and pedal Lewis
in Elton Church

Students will also play the superb 4-manual Hill/Harrison organ of Peterborough Cathedral, and a variety of instruments in Cambridge.

Pulling Out The Stops (POTS)

A friendly weekend for early-stages organists and pianists who want to play the pipe organ

5-7 April, held in Oundle, Northamptonshire 

Our annual residential weekend course for early-stages organists is always very popular. We welcome students (typical age 10-15) who are either young organists up to grade 5, or pianists at grade 4 standard (minimum) who wish to try the pipe organ. Pulling Out The Stops is just what you need to get going and it’s huge fun!

• Inspiring lessons in small groups on 6 excellent organs in and around Oundle (including lessons on pedal playing and hymns).

• Trip to Cambridge for an ‘organ crawl’ around the Cambridge college chapels.

• Warm and comfortable accommodation, recreational facilities and great food at Oundle School.

• Informal student concert on final day in Oundle School Chapel – all welcome.


The fee of £275 covers everything – tuition, accommodation, meals, transport during the weekend.


You may be able to persuade your school or church to contribute, or perhaps we can offer bursaries to help support those who cannot afford the fee.



Tom Bell

‘Charismatic and virtuosic’, the director of the course is an enthusiastic advocate for the whole organ repertoire and a great communicator.

Tom is joined by two rising stars of the Cathedral music world…


Claire Innes-Hopkins

Assistant Organist at Lincoln Cathedral, an experienced and innovative teacher…


…and David Humphreys

Assistant Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral, a superb musician and an encouraging teacher.


James Lloyd Thomas 

completes the team. A regular member of the Oundle faculty for over a decade: hundreds of student have enjoyed his excellent teaching and ready wit!


Built by J W Walker in 1861; re-built by Bower & Company in 2004


1 Bourdon 16

2 Open Diapason 8
3 Clarabella 8
4 Keraulophon 8
5 Principal 4
6 Flute 4
7 Fifteenth 2
8 Mixture II
9 Clarinet 8

10 Open Diapason 8
11 Stopped Diapason 8
12 Principal 4
13 Oboe 8
14 Cornopean 8
Swell to Great
Great to Pedal



Built by Harrison & Harrison In 1915


1 Sub Bass 16

2 Double Salicional 16
3 Open Diapason 8
4 Claribel Flute 8
5 Octave 4

6 Violin Diapason 8
7 Lieblich Flute 4
8 Cornopean 8
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
Swell octave            
Great to Pedal           

Radiating & Concave