Summer School


Low res SS graduation pic

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? 13th – 19th July 2020

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

Who? Organists around the ages of 14 – 23, from roughly Grade 6* standard through diploma level. 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
  • The opportunity to hear performances in the Oundle International Festival, some of which will be by your tutors
  • Comfortable accommodation and great food at Oundle School
  • Plenty of fun with like-minded students –   you’ll make friendships that last a lifetime
  • An OfO Eucharist on Sunday 19 July, where students conduct, provide the organ music, hymns and accompaniments 
  • Participation in a student choir at a Festival concert, and at the Eucharist 
  • An informal student concert on Sunday 19 July at 2.30pm in the Oundle School Chapel 
  • Instruction on improvisation, transposition, sight-reading, score-reading, hymn-playing and other keyboard skills which you will need for organ scholarship trials or church music jobs. 

* 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.


  • £630 for applications received by 31 Jan 2020
  • £685 from 1 Feb 2020

The fee covers everything - tuition, accommodation, meals, and transport during the week. For bursary information, click here.

How do I apply?

The application deadline is Friday 5th June 2020, click here to apply.


‘My week at Oundle has been one of the most memorable of my life so far. Never before have I encountered so many young and like-minded people, and I have come away feeling that I have made some life-long friends.’ – 2018 Summer School Student


Festival Events

Students will have free admittance to many of the 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.

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 during the course, 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.

Neil Cockburn  

Neil Cockburn

Scottish-born Director of Music at Calgary Cathedral in Canada;
Oxford- and RNCM-educated soloist, continuo player, and ensemble musician; Premier Prix
from the Conservatoire de ReuilMalmaison; PhD in musicology anda vast repertoire.

Katherine Dienes Williams photo


Katherine Dienes-Williams

Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral; trustee of the Royal College of
Organists, and the Organists Charitable Trust; in demand as a choir trainer and organist who
has taught and played on courses worldwide.

Richard Hills  

Richard Hills

One of the few musicians to have bridged and mastered the divide between the classical and theatre organ worlds; Director of Music at St Mary’s Bourne Street; full freelance portfolio of recitals, continuo-playing, and teaching.

Read more here

Anna Lapwood


Anna Lapwood

Conductor, organist, broadcaster, and Director of Music at Pembroke
College, Cambridge; travels extensively to teach music to children from disadvantaged
backgrounds, with recent trips to Thailand, China and Zambia.

Iain Quinn   

Iain Quinn

Associate Professor of Organ at Florida State University; PhD in musicology from the University of Durham; performs around the world; fourteen CDs, most recently one of Haydn concertos with the
leading early music orchestra, Arcangelo.

Read more here



Guy Whatley  

Guy Whatley

Acclaimed by the Arizona Daily Star as “a rock star on the harpsichord,”; PhD from Arizona
States University and diplomas from the RCM and RAM; a diverse international career as
a harpsichordist and organist; soloist, collaborative artist, and ensemble director.

Read more here

William Whitehead  

William Whitehead

One of the UK’s busiest and well-travelled recitalists and teachers; performs with some of
the leading orchestras and choirs; curated the Orgelbüchlein Project, commissioning the missing pieces
of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein.

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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 Colleges.