Julie Ainscough with ARCO graduates Tim Lambourn and Lawrence Thain at Southwark Cathedral (U.K.) on Saturday, the Eighth of March 2008.

Julie Ainscough with ARCO graduates
Tim Lambourn and Lawrence Thain
at Southwark Cathedral (U.K.)
on Saturday, the Eighth of March 2008.

Photograph: © Copyright 2008 Barry Thain.

Organ  Teacher

News of pupils.

Edward Buxton (Organ Scholar of St. Mark's, Teddington) is confirmed as Organ Scholar at Jesus College, in the University of Oxford, on the Eighteenth of August 2016.  Alex Coutts (Organ Scholar of Esher Parish Church) is confirmed as Organ Scholar at Magdalene College, in the University of Cambridge, on the same day.

Study and Qualification

I teach organ both privately and at Hampton School (where I have been on the staff since 1994).  A considerable number of my young organ pupils attain organ scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge, from where they are able to gain professional employment, either in significant cathedrals or in other branches of music.  Adult pupils learn both to accompany the liturgy and to play repertoire to a standard which enhances it.

Having spent many years as 'Organist & Choirmaster' or 'Director of Music' in both Anglican and Roman Catholic parish churches, I am now Organist at  St. Augustine's Abbey at Chilworth, near Guildford, where I accompany the Benedictine monks' (and the lay congregation's) singing of Gregorian plainchant and provide additional organ music at the Sunday Mass.

I studied the organ at Trinity College of Music, London, then privately with the late David Sanger, the international concert organist, teacher of organ and (between 2009-2010) President of the Royal College of Organists.  He, himself, was a pupil of world-renowned professors Marie-Claire Alain and Anton Heiller).  David Sanger was a superlative performer, an exacting and inspirational teacher, a delightful friend and a man of impeccably upright character whose common sense, humour and wisdom engendered affection and respect from all who knew him.  His passing, in the most tragic circumstances, is mourned deeply around the world.  May he rest in peace.

A celebration of David's life was held on Saturday the Fifth of March 2011 at 2.00pm in Great St Mary's, the University Church in Market Square, Cambridge.  This was followed by a reception at Selwyn College.  A number of David's close colleagues and former students performed, Kevin Bowyer, Timothy Byram-Wigfield, Clive Driskill-Smith, Hans Fagius, Stephen Farr, David Goode, Jon Laukvik, Philip Rushforth and (the late) John Scott among them.  Additionally, some of David's choral music was sung.  An organ recital by a number of leading organists was also given in memory of David on Monday 1st November 2010 at 1 p.m. on the organ of St. Michael's, Cornhill, in the City of London.

Organ Teaching

I accept pupils and give organ tuition according to the stipulations and recommendations of the Royal College of Organists and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (which latter organisation elected me as an accredited member of its Register of Private Professional Teachers, after exhaustive scrutiny of my modus operandi and having obtained thoroughly-validated references from within the profession).  The terms and conditions under which I teach privately are contained in a document entitled An agreement for music tuition, which is supplied as a hard copy to all prospective clients when I meet them for an initial consultation.

I encourage pupils toward idiomatic and authentic performance of a broad range of repertoire (for example, Early Spanish, Early English, French Baroque, North German and Low Countries Baroque, French Romantic and Twentieth Century, English Twentieth Century).  Correct fingering and ornamentation, authentic registration (including - where appropriate - the Spanish medio registro divided keyboard and use of the Cavaillé-Coll ventil system), the historical and practical contexts of the music and, most importantly, well-rounded and properly mature musical performance are fundamental.  Theoretical and practical teaching is informed by awareness of musical discovery, study, opinion and performance, together with personal performance on numerous organs in Britain, France, Germany and Spain.

I teach primarily at St. Augustine's Abbey, Chilworth, near Guildford, where I am titular Organist.  Lessons are given there on a modestly-sized but beautiful 1915 Lewis & Company organ, rebuilt subsequently by others.  Tuition has to be fitted into the context of a functioning Benedictine monastery in which the Daily Office and Mass are constant features of religious life.  I have been able also, for some time, to offer organ tuition at the Parish Church of St. Mary in Twickenham, Middlesex, where a fine Harrison & Harrison organ was built in 1996.  The versatile specification of this instrument, together with its superb action and voicing, allows a wide range of repertoire to be played convincingly.  Teaching at Twickenham, however, does depend on the availability of keys to the church and upon the availability of at least two pupils to cover my travel costs.

Organ Performance Courses

Young pupils usually attend training courses given under the ægis of the The Royal College of Organists and the Oundle for Organists programme.  These residential courses enable pupils to perform repertoire in masterclasses with some of Europe's leading players, whose insightful and positive comments and instruction helps to direct these young organists on their way towards musical maturity.

Organ Scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge

My younger organ pupils, whether they intend to read Music or a purely academic subject, intend from the outset to apply to Oxford or Cambridge.  Their candidacy for "OxBridge" organ scholarships is an important adjunct to their mainstream study, as significant achievement in the higher organ grade examinations (i.e. Grade Six and above) credits them with valuable extra UCAS points and success in the September auditions can prove helpful at college interview time.  Having had satisfactory interviews and having gained both the conditional appointment as "Organ Scholar-elect" in their chosen college plus the 'A'-level passes required to confirm their place, Organ Scholars going up for their first Michaelmas term can look forward to participation not only in the musical life of their college, but also of the wider university.  Social life amongst the organ and choral scholars is well-developed and full of opportunity.  Organ Scholars also tend to enjoy superior accommodation within their colleges (rather than in student flats across the city), normally with a practice piano and a telephone line provided.  The following two videos, produced by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, are useful guides to what is entailed in being an Organ Scholar in these great institutions

Recent Organ Scholars

Edward Buxton (ex-Hampton School):  Organ Scholar, Jesus College, Oxford, 2016, reading Modern Languages and Linguistics.

Alex Coutts (ex-Hampton School):  Organ Scholar, Magdalene College, Cambridge, 2016, reading Modern and Mediæval Languages.

Albert Kang (ex-Westminster School Organ Scholar, 2012):  Homerton College, Cambridge, 2014, reading Biological Science for Medicine.

Christopher Breeze (ex-Hampton School, Organ Scholar at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace 2011):  University College, Oxford, 2013, reading Music.

Jonathan Huse (ex-Hampton School)  Homerton College, Cambridge, 2013, reading History.

William Round (ex-Hampton School, Organ Scholar at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace April 2009):  Brasenose College, Oxford, 2011, reading PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics).

Henry Chandler (ex-Hampton School):  Pembroke College, Oxford, 2010, reading Music.

Edward Buchanan (ex-Reigate Grammar School):  Balliol College, Oxford, 2010, reading Modern Languages.

James Buchanan (ex-Reigate Grammar School and twin brother of Edward, above):  University College, Oxford, 2010, reading Mathematics.

Lawrence Thain (ex-Hampton School, Organ Scholar at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace 2005-2009):  New College, Oxford, 2008, reading Music.  He gained the Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists in 2010, having studied at New College with Steven Grahl.  Lawrence achieved success (performance, aural tests and paperwork) in his candidacy for the Associateship diploma of the R.C.O. in 2007, whilst still at Hampton School (see image above).  Lawrence's finals recital on the Grant, Degens and Bradbeer organ in the chapel of New College comprised the following works:

1) Plein jeu;  Tierce en taille;  Récit de nasard;  Grand jeu (
Premier Livre d’Orgue ) - Louis Marchand,
2) Scherzo, Op.2 - Maurice Duruflé,
3) Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité, No.7 ("
Le Père et le Fils aiment par le Saint-Esprit eux-mêmes et nous ") - Olivier Messiaen,
4) Deux danses à Agni Yavishta (Op.61) - Jehan Alain,
5) Prélude et Fugue en Sol mineur [
G minor] (Op.7 No.3) - Marcel Dupré.

Lawrence maintains a YouTube channel on which can be found a selection of his performances.  He has now returned to the United Kiingdom to develop his career in a fresh direction (see above).

Tim Lambourn (ex-Hampton School):  Jesus College, Cambridge, 2008, reading Geography.  Tim completed his Degree at Cambridge and is now based in Scotland.  Having been studying organ at Oxford with the late David Sanger, Tim was overseen subsequently by Gordon Stewart.  Tim's candidacy for the Associateship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists was completed successfully in January 2008 and the diploma was conferred upon him in March (see image above).  Tim is now Assistant Organist at Paisley Abbey, working with the eminent Dr. George McPhee, B.Mus, DipMusEd (RSAMD), D.Univ, FRCO, Hon.FRSCM, Hon.FGCM, MBE.

Timothy Burke (ex-Hampton School, formerly Acting Assistant Organist and previously Organ Scholar at both All Saints, Kingston-upon-Thames Parish Church) and St. Mary the Virgin, Ewell Parish Church):  Exeter College, Oxford, 2001, reading Music.  Tim achieved an excellent pass in the January 2001 examination for the Associateship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists (ARCO) at the age of eighteen years (winning the Durrant and Sowerbutts prizes) and also passed the recital element of the Fellowship Diploma (F.R.C.O.) examination in July 2001, making him the highest-qualified Organ Scholar-elect going up to Oxford in that year.

Timothy Burke's Finals recital, given in the chapel of Exeter College, was comprised of:

1) Prelude and Fugue in G Major (BWV541) – J.S. Bach;
2) Benedictus (Op.59 No.3) – Max Reger;
3) Deuxième Symphonie (Op.26) - Marcel Dupré.

Timothy Burke graduated on the Eighth of July 2003 with a First-Class Honours Degree in Music by the University of Oxford and was awarded the Peter Street Prize for his "outstanding contribution to the academic and cultural life of Exeter College".  Having come down from Oxford, he assisted with the running of the Eton Choral Course and undertook postgraduate study at the Guildhall School of Music in London before moving to the National Opera Studio.  Timothy Burke was appointed also as Co-director of Music at All Saints' Parish Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, which post he held until 2007.  September 2006 saw him commence work at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden under the ægis of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme as a trainee conductor.  Subsequently, he was appointed as Artistic Director of Riverside Opera.  Timothy Burke was appointed subsequently as Chorus Master of Opera North, a post which he held with considerable distinction and flair.  He returned to London in 2013 to advance his career as a conductor, this time as Music Director with Tête-à-Tête Opera and as Associate Conductor at Opera Holland Park.  Tim has also achieved some distinction as Assistant Conductor with Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera, plus English Touring Opera, the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  Tim is represented by James Black Management.

Organ Scholarships at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, and at Parish Church level

Organ Scholarships at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, may be offered, when appropriate, to former Chapel Royal boy choristers on music scholarships at Hampton School who are studying organ with me.  This is a tremendous opportunity for these late-teenage players, as they learn to accompany the fully-choral, cathedral service-like music of the Chapel Royal and also to provide organ voluntaries of a commensurate standard.  Younger organ pupils (some of whom will have been Chapel Royal boy choristers) often benefit from tenure of organ scholarships in parish churches, where they begin to learn the skills necessary to accompany services and where they can perform organ music in public.

Performance Competitions

I have had numerous other successes with pupils:  this encompasses numerous prize-winners in the Croydon Music Festival (now the Croydon Performing Arts Festival) between 1997 and 2010.  A variety of practical considerations (not least the timing of the Festival in the run-up to public examinations, the re-building of the Croydon Minster organ and consequent relocation of the Croydon Music Festival organ classes to St. John's, Upper Norwood, together with a regular date clash involving the Hampton School Music Department and their German partner school in Konstanz) made continued participation in the Croydon Music Festival beyond 2010 problematic.  The 2011 organ classes had to be cancelled because of these issues.

A first foray into the Godalming Music Festival was made in March 2012 and, year on year, has yielded many successes.  The 2016 class winners list featured four of my organ pupils from Hampton School:  Alfie Askham, Edward Buxton, Alex Coutts and Felix Elliott.  Alex Coutts (now going up to Cambridge as Organ Scholar at Magdalene College) was awarded the Nich Darnton Memorial Cup "for the most promising organist".

Hampton School

I was involved in a review of organ provision at Hampton School (with a view to increasing the school's profile in British organ-teaching) and is looking into the detail of how any possible successor to the 1930s Rushworth & Dreaper instrument in the School's Main Hall may be integrated with development plans.  An interim arrangement was made with the commissioning of a new forty-three stop electronic instrument of three manuals and pedals from Makin Organs, delivered from Holland during the Autumn term of 2007.  This has proved useful as a means of teaching the techniques involved in using the range of registration aids typical of a modern and complex organ.  The Makin instrument has also seen use in school orchestral and choral concerts.

I have overseen already the installation of a twelve stop, two-manual and pedal (mechanical action) modular pipe organ by Peter Collins in a building converted specially for the Music Department.  This acquisition offers the opportunity for organ tuition to be given while the Main Hall is being used for public examinations and other purposes.  The central part of this instrument can be separated from the rest of the organ so that the former may be used as a small continuo instrument (e.g. for Bach cantatas).  The Collins organ may be moved into the new Performing Arts Centre to allow its use with choirs and instrumental ensembles in rehearsal and performance.


"It will be a pleasure to meet and teach more of Julie's excellent students!"
(the late DAVID SANGER, 06/05/2009)

"I just wanted to say how excellent I found Timothy Burke. I think he's a really splendid fellow and he's been exceedingly well-taught.  Many congratulations, Julie".
(the late DAVID SANGER, 31/05/1999).

"The (organ) scholars at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, are usually gap year (or older) musicians, so (for Lawrence Thain) to be awarded the scholarship at 14 he must have a pretty good teacher."

"It is clear to me that he (Tim Lambourn) has been extremely well-taught".
(DANIEL HYDE, Jesus College Cambridge, 16/10/2007).

"This is a very significant achievement and just reward to Christopher and Jonathan for their years of hard work and dedication.  Due recognition must also go to Dr. Julie Ainscough, organ teacher at Hampton who, year on year, helps our musicians achieve their full potential".
(IAIN DONALD, Director of Music, Hampton School, 08/10/2012).

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