Oxford University Choral Singing Summer School 2017

Course summary

Oxford University Choral Singing Summer School 2017


This is a practical course for singers who wish to develop broad musicianship and a deeper understanding of choral singing by immersion in the riches of the English choral tradition. It is open to adult sopranos, altos, tenors and basses, who will form the course’s vocal ensemble, all studying and living in Oxford’s former Anglican monastery, now a Hall of the University of Oxford. The beautiful buildings of St Stephen’s House include some of the university’s finest acoustics for music and an atmosphere for serious study whilst being set in a vibrant quarter of the city. Applications are especially welcomed from students, educators and other able singers who already possess good musical skills.

Programme details

Seminar rehearsals are held each weekday morning from 10.15am to 12 noon and each weekday afternoon from 2pm to 3.30pm. The morning and afternoon sessions follow a set theme (see below). The remainder of the afternoon is for individual study or for exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.

There is an evening session from 8.30pm - 9.30pm on a variety of themes.

There is an introductory session on the first Sunday evening including a concert performance from the renowned British ensenble Tenebrae and a concluding performance event on the Saturday. Students depart after breakfast on the final Sunday.


Session Themes:


Plainchant and medieval music


Music of the Sixteenth century


Sessions with Dr Stephen Darlington


Music of the Seventeenth to Nineteenth centuries


Music of the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries

For a draft timetable, please click here.

Recommended reading

Students will receive scores of some of the set works in advance and will be expected to have prepared them in advance of the course.


On successful completion of the Summer School, all participants will receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance.

Please note that this course does not offer any form of official credit to participants.


Programme Fee: Tuition, Full Board, Ensuite Accommodation: £1500.00
Programme Fee: Tuition, Full Board, No Accommodation: £1200.00
Programme Fee: Tuition, Full Board, Standard Accommodation: £1400.00


Dr Stephen Darlington


Dr Stephen Darlington is the Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford and academic tutor at Christ Church, Oxford. He is one of Britain’s leading choral conductors with an extensive discography and several award-winning recordings.

Dr James Whitbourn


Dr James Whitbourn is a Research Fellow of St Stephen’s House, Oxford and a member of the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford.  As composer, conductor and producer, he has three GRAMMY® nominations amongst many international awards. A graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, his career in music began in the BBC, for whom he has worked as composer, conductor, producer and presenter.  His largest composition is the concert-length choral work Annelies, which sets words from The Diary of Anne Frank. Other notable works include Luminosity, Son of God Mass for saxophone, choir and organ and The Seven Heavens for choir and orchestra - a portrayal of the life of C. S. Lewis in the imagery of the medieval planets. His choral works have been presented on acclaimed recordings, including five complete discs of his choral music, and are regularly performed throughout the world.

Course aims

The course, through practical seminars with the whole choral group, or sections of it, provides context and depth of understanding to music drawn from the English choral tradition composed over the course of several centuries. Its lessons of broad musicianship and choral skills will be transferable to many other traditions of choral music.

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Click 'apply' above to download an application form.

Prospective students must supply:

  • A completed application form

  • Personal statement of all musical experience, including (but not exclusively) choral or other singing experience

  • An unedited audio or audio-visual (preferred) recording of up to 5 minutes.

Your recording does not need to be a professional recording: a recording made on any standard device (eg iPhone, iPad or other tablet) is all that is necessary. This should be uploaded onto YouTube or similar and a link supplied. The purpose of this information is to achieve a well-balanced choral ensemble.

Please note that samples may be emailed separately to