Summer School

An inspirational course for young organists during the Oundle International Festival

10th - 16th July 2017

Our Summer School runs for six jam-packed days alongside the Oundle International Festival, for organists roughly in the 14-22 age bracket who are at or very near grade 6 standard or above. Working with distinguished tutors, studying repertoire of all periods, honing technique, keyboard skills, and making music in both concert and liturgical settings, there is a lot to be done in such a short space of time. You can have a look at a schedule from last year here.

Venues: Oundle and surrounding villages, Finedon, Cambridge University Chapels, Ely Cathedral
Cost: £600 for applications received by 15 January, and £650 thereafter. The course fee includes accommodation, meals, transport upon arrival in Oundle, and all tuition.
Application Deadline: 21st June

Applications for the Summer School should be accompanied by a reference from the applicant’s regular organ tutor. You can apply here. Bursary application forms can be found here.
Please do not send any money with your application.

As last year, we have some bursaries avaliable for students coming from America. Early applications for these are strongly advised and are given out on a first come first serve basis. 

Prices include accommodation, transport once in Oundle, and all tuition and meals. Students are expected to arrange their own transport to Oundle. Please do not book transport until you have been accepted on the course and advised of start and finish times.

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.

Platform concert: some students will be selected to play in an end-of-course composite recital which will take place in Oundle School Chapel on Sunday 19 July.

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

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.

Matthew Martin  

Matthew Martin

A past pupil of Marie Claire Alain, Matthew Martin studied at Magdalen College, Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music. Currently a Fellow, Lecturer and Director of Music at Keble College, Oxford, he has been a prizewinner in the British Composer Awards (2013) and his ‘ear catching and spirited’ (The Guardian) music is gaining him an international reputation, with recent commissions coming from the Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen and the Gabrieli Consort.

Gordon Stewart  

Gordon Stewart 

Gordon Stewart was born in Scotland and after studies in Manchester and Geneva with Gillian Weir, Eric Chadwick and Lionel Rogg, he was for 15 years a cathedral organist, first in Manchester then in Blackburn. For 25 years he has been Borough Organist of Kirklees where he plays regular concerts on the 1860 Father Willis organ in Huddersfield Town Hall.
A prolific recording artist, Gordon was also for 20 years broadcast regularly as organist and conductor on the BBC, chiefly as a musical director on Daily Service, Sunday Half Hour and Songs of Praise. His recital career has taken him all over the UK, throughout Europe, and the United States, as well as to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Gordon’s repertoire is large and covers all the major schools of organ composition. After several years as Senior Organ Tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music, he is now one of the organ teachers at Cambridge University. He is also a popular visiting tutor at a number of institutions in the UK and further afield.
Gordon is a former president of the Incorporated Association of Organists. He has been awarded honorary fellowships by the Royal College of Organists, the Royal School of Church Music and the Guild of Church Musicians, and an honorary doctorate by the University of Huddersfield.

William Whitehead  

William Whitehead 

First-prize winner at the Odense International Organ Competition, Denmark, in 2004, William has established a reputation for engaging and inspiring playing. His disc, 'Dances of Life and Death', music by Duruflé and Alain, was awarded a Diapason Découverte in Diapason magazine and 5-star reviews elsewhere. He is now sought after as a recitalist, teacher, examiner and jury member.

Katie Pardee  

Katie Pardee

is Betts Fellow in Organ Studies at the University of Oxford, Music Lecturer at Corpus Christi College, and Director of Chapel Music at Wadham College. In her role as Betts Fellow, she looks after the organ scholars across the University by coaching and teaching, organising masterclasses, and facilitating their work in their college chapels. From 1999-2001, she was interim Assistant Professor of Organ at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, New York); and prior to that, University Organist and Director of Chapel Music at Syracuse University, NY, where she was also a member of the faculty of the School of Music. She has made two cds with the Pro Organo label, and has performed widely in the United States, England, and on the continent. Having earned the MM and DMA degrees in organ performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music, she has also completed a DPhil. at Oxford, where her research is in Bach in nineteenth-century England. Katie also serves as a Council Member of the British Institute of Organ Studies (BIOS), and is a Trustee of the Bach Network UK (BNUK).


James McVinnie 

James McVinnie divides his time between playing very old and very new music on the organ. He has collaborated with some of the world’s leading composers, producers and performers from classical, contemporary, popular and experimental music. Nico Muhly, Tom Jenkinson/Squarepusher, Martin Creed (winner of the 2001 Turner Prize), Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), David Lang (winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in music) and Bryce Dessner (The National) have written works for him. Recent highlights have included performances at the 2016 Eaux Claires Festival, London’s Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Centre, on stage in Handel’s Saul at Glyndebourne 2015. 2017 includes solo performances and a concerto appearance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Kilkenny Festival and the Köln Philharmonie. He is a member of the Icelandic record label Bedroom Community.

Catherine Ennis 2  

Catherine Ennis 

Catherine Ennis is one of Britain’s foremost organ recitalists. She is Director of Music at the City of London church of St. Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall, Vice- President of the Royal College of Organists, Director of the John Hill Young Artists recitals, Trustee of the Nicholas Danby Trust for young organists, founder-editor of the London Organ Concerts Guide, and Past President of the Incorporated Association of Organists.
Recitals and recordings have taken her to many international venues; as a teacher, she has been involved at three of London’s Music conservatoires. She has given master classes throughout the UK and abroad, both as organist and choir director, and is a frequent examiner and adjudicator for colleges and festivals. She is a frequent contributor to musical journals.
Catherine Ennis has helped create four major new London organs (The Rieger at St. Marylebone, shared with the Royal Academy of Music, the Klais at St. Lawrence Jewry, the William Drake at Trinity College of Music, and the Queen’s Organ in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey, built by Mander).

Christian Lane  

Christian Lane

Winner of the 2011 Canadian International Organ Competition, Christian Lane is one of America’s most respected and versatile young organists. As founding director of Boston Organ Studio, he maintains the largest private organ studio in the United States, offering distinctive instruction for students ranging in ability from beginner to professional post-graduate. Noted for his "gratifying musical maturity, demonstrated through playing that is suave, elegant, and exciting" (The American Organist). He is a frequent recitalist throughout North America and has held several notable positions, including at Harvard University and Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue (New York). Mr. Lane holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University, and served as Vice-President of the American Guild of Organists from 2014–16.

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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.