Summer School

THIS COURSE IS NOW FULL - but do drop us an email if you would like to be put on the waiting list.

An inspirational course for young organists during the Oundle International Festival

Based in the beautiful Northamptonshire market town, the Oundle for Organists Summer School, founded over 30 years ago, is the perfect week of intensive tuition and fun. Our renowned tutors will guide and inspire you; you’ll gain new insights into your playing every day. You’ll make friends and spend time with kindred spirits, and you’ll broaden your musical horizons by experiencing memorable performances in the Oundle International Festival. You’ll even participate in one of them!

When? 9th – 15th July 2018

Where? Oundle and surrounding villages, with a visit to Cambridge

Who? Organists around the ages of 14 – 23, at or above Grade 6* through post-Grade 8 and diploma. Students will be grouped according to their level of experience.

What happens?

  • Inspiring classes on organs in and around Oundle and a day of classes in Cambridge
  • Instruction on transposition, sight-reading, score-reading, hymn-playing and other keyboard skills which you will need for organ scholarship trials or church music jobs
  • The opportunity to hear performances in the Oundle International Festival, some of which are recitals by course tutors, and to participate in a student choir at a Festival concert.
  • Comfortable accommodation and great food at Oundle School
  • Plenty of fun with like-minded students –   you’ll make friendships that last a lifetime
  • A chance to play, sing and conduct in the OfO Eucharist and the chance to play in the end of course concert on Sunday 15 July (family and friends are welcome to attend both)

* Applicants who are not familiar with the ABRSM grades or who are perhaps more advanced than our POTS course are very welcome to get in touch with examples of their current repertoire, we can then advise you on your suitability.


  • £610 for applications received by 31 Jan 2018
  • £660 from 1 Feb 2018

The fee covers tuition, accommodation, meals, and transport during the week. For bursary information, see the back of the brochure.

How do I apply?

The application deadline is the 8th June 2018, click here to apply.


'I have been to other organ academies... but they were nothing like Oundle. Attending Oundle was a highlight of my life' – 2017 Summer School student


Festival Events

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


Oundle courses are non-competitive. We aim to help you succeed by assessing your standard, progress, and potential. This helps us know how best to support you on the course and in the future.

Following the Summer School each student receives a comprehensive written report from the Director of OfO, incorporating feedback from the other tutors. In addition, all students are eligible to receive Mentoring and Recital Awards at Cathedrals and Colleges around the UK. For further details of these, please see our website.

Mentoring Awards: our new programme offers course students the opportunity to be awarded educational experiences. Further information about this new initative can be found on this website.


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 

is the Director of OfO. One of the most sought-after teachers in the UK, she is in frequent demand for master classes both there and in North America. She has performed throughout the United States, Great Britain and Europe, with a repertoire that ranges from the 14th century to the present day. Her recital career was launched by success in two major competitions (including first prize in the American Guild of Organists NYACOP in 1998) and she has received wide critical acclaim for her ability to move between musical eras, styles and genres with sympathy and flair.

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Gerard Brooks

Gerard Brooks is Director of Music at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster and Curator Organist of Christ Church, Spitalfields. He is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music and also teaches the organ at Latymer Upper School and for the RCO Academy. He particularly enjoys French repertoire and has contributed many articles to musical journals as well as writing the chapter on French and Belgian organ music for the Cambridge Companion to the Organ.  His recordings on the Priory label have all been broadcast on national radio and include the complete works of Eugène Gigout and Saint-Saëns. He is the presenter and a performer on the Fugue State Films DVDs “The Genius of Cavaillé-Coll” (which won the BBC Music Magazine Award for Best Documentary in 2014) and “Widor: Master of the Organ Symphony”.
Gerard is a regular tutor on RSCM and RCO courses and has also taught for the London Organ Day, Oundle for Organists and the Edinburgh Organ Academy. He is the founding Director of the London Organ Improvisation Course and is on the examination panel of the Royal College of Organists.

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Henry Fairs

British organist, Henry Fairs combines positions at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Universities of Birmingham and St Andrews (UK) with a busy recital career.  He has won ten prizes in international organ competitions and has appeared in festivals throughout Europe and in North America, Canada, Russia and Japan, performing solo recitals, broadcasts (BBC, BR, MDR, Danish Radio) and concertos on both historic and modern instruments. He is regularly invited to serve as a jury member (Odense and Wadden Sea competitions, Denmark; Silbermann Wettbewerb, Germany), examiner, guest tutor and speaker. His students include a number of prize-winners in international competitions.
Born in Hereford in 1976, Henry received his earliest musical training as a chorister at Leominster Priory and studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he graduated with First Class Honours and was a prize-winner at the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists. A scholarship from the Countess of Munster Trust enabled postgraduate studies in Paris, Cologne and Vienna. He enjoys playing and teaching abroad, eclectic repertory and the chorale fantasias of Max Reger. In addition, he has in recent years been occupied with the performance of 19th and 20th century music, including complete performances of organ music by Jehan Alain (2011), Liszt (the three great works -2011), Reubke, Olivier Messiaen (2008) and Maurice Duruflé ( Naxos 8.557924).
"Fairs emerges as a top-notch performer. His registrations, tempos, and sensitivity to subtle nuances in phrasing and articulation are superb." American Record Guide

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Stephen Farr

Stephen Farr’s performing career has taken him throughout Europe, North and South America, and to Australia. He held appointments at Christ Church, Oxford, and Winchester and Guildford Cathedrals before pursuing a freelance career. He has played with many of the world’s leading ensembles, and has appeared in major venues including the Berlin Philharmonie, the Royal Festival Hall, and the Royal Albert Hall, where he appeared at the BBC Proms as a solo recitalist in the 2011 season and a concerto soloist in the 2015 season.  He is Director of Music at St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge and teaches organ at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.  He was Organ Scholar of Clare College, Cambridge, obtaining a double first in Music and an MPhil in Musicology; he also holds a PhD from the University of Surrey. His extensive and wide-ranging solo discography encompasses music from the 16th to the 21st century.

Steven Grahl   

Steven Grahl

Steven Grahl took up the position of Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral in September 2014. Prior to this, he spent seven years as Assistant Organist at New College, Oxford, a post which he held in conjunction with that of Organist & Director of Music at St Marylebone Parish Church, London from 2001-2014. Steven is a sought-after conductor and keyboard player, and is also active as a teacher. He holds a Junior Fellowship in Choral Direction at Birmingham Conservatoire, and was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2010. A prize-winning graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, and the Royal Academy of Music, Steven gained the Limpus (highest mark) and Dixon (improvisation) prizes in the FRCO examination, and is also a holder of the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Silver Medallion. He was an interpretation finalist in the International Organ Competitions at St Albans (UK) in 2011, and in Dudelange (Luxembourg) in 2013. Steven is President of the IAO, and was appointed Conductor of Schola Cantorum of Oxford in June 2017.

Christian Wilson   

Christian Wilson

Christian Wilson is Director of Music at Brasenose College, Assistant Organist at Christ Church, Oxford and Organist of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London. A former head chorister at Westminster Abbey, he was later Sub-Organist at Perth Cathedral, Western Australia before taking up the Organ Scholarship at Christ Church Oxford. A further Masters in solo organ/harpsichord performance at Stuttgart’s Hochschule für Musik, initiated a freelance performing career as an organist and conductor taking Christian to numerous venues across five continents. Christian directs an early music group (Utopia) founded at the site of Thomas More’s shrine at the Tower of London,  and is a regular course tutor on the ‘Oundle for Organists’ Summer courses. Busy as an educator, he also directs RSCM courses from time to time, most recently in Johannesburg.

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Margaret Phillips

One of Britain's outstanding concert organists and teachers, Margaret Phillips studied with the late Ralph Downes and Marie-Claire Alain. Since 1996 she has been Professor of Organ at the Royal College of Music in London, and she is also much in demand throughout the UK and abroad as recitalist, teacher, masterclass tutor and international jury member. Her numerous CDs, which include the complete organ works of Bach, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns and Stanley, have been highly praised. In 1994, Margaret Phillips and her husband founded the English Organ School and Museum in former chapel premises in Milborne Port, Somerset, where they have a small collection of organs by English organ builders from the eighteenth century to the present day.


Luke Bond

The recipient of several prizes and awards, Luke Bond is the Assistant Director of Music of Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. After appointments at Clifton College and The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, he enjoyed eight years as Assistant Director of Music at Truro Cathedral. He has appeared as a soloist or accompanist on twelve commercial recordings, all of which have received excellent reviews across broadsheets and industry press including The Sunday Times, BBC Music Magazine, and The Guardian. His most recent recording of Gabriel Jackson's music with Truro Cathedral Choir and saxophonist Joel Garthwaite (Vox Clara) was received particularly enthusiastically. The Observer writing "Everything Bond and Garthwaite touch has a sprinkling of magic dust“. Luke is an advocate of new music and has given numerous premieres in concert, broadcast and recording including Julian Philips' Church Music and Graham Fitkin's Organ, both on BBC Radio 3. Luke has performed recitals in London's St Paul's and Westminster Cathedrals, and Westminster Abbey. In the UK he has performed with the country's leading orchestras including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra of Wales, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He has performed organ concertos with City of London Sinfonia and internationally across Russia as a representative of the British Council.

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We use a great collection of 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

3-manual Father Smith
in Finedon

2-manual Lewis
in Titchmarsh 

2-manual Grant, Degens and Bradbeer
in Warmington

Students will also play a variety of instruments in Cambridge.