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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.