Eton Choral Courses: Course 5 (Oxford)

  • The Queen's College High Street Oxford OX1 4AW United Kingdom

About the course


The Eton Choral Courses are week-long, residential summer courses for singers aged 16-20, which provide intensive, fun weeks of training in singing and choral music.

For 36 years, we have been at the forefront of choral scene for young singers in the UK and offer a unique opportunity to perform at the highest level with like-minded musicians.


Alexander Technique with Catherine Fleming

Catherine combines work as a teacher of the Alexander Technique with her career as a musician. She studied the Alexander Technique with the late Walter Carrington at the Constructive Teaching Centre in London (the longest established training school in the world) graduating in July 2005, and has continued her study of AT with John Nicholls, Ilana Machover and Jane Saunderson.

Catherine teaches at Eton College, Marlborough College and is Professor of Recorder at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She regularly gives workshops in the Alexander Technique to musicians, for example on the Eton Choral Courses. Catherine has worked as an external examiner for Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Trinity College of Music, as well as adjudicating in the UK and Hong Kong.

Vocal Masterclass with Kirsty Hopkins

Kirsty Hopkins read Music at Manchester University and then continued her post-graduate vocal training under Linda Hirst at Trinity College of Music in London (now Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) where she won the Elizabeth Schumann Lieder Prize. She now enjoys a versatile career performing all over the world with some of today’s most exciting and renowned conductors and ensembles.

Future plans include playing the title role in John Barber’s new opera The Nightingale in Aldeburgh, recording more Purcell for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen with performances at Wigmore Hall, an opera based on Bach St Matthew Passion with Streetwise Opera and further performances of Entanglement throughout the UK and Thomas Tallis at The Globe.

Compline at Merton College Chapel

Compline is the final church office of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours, marking the ‘completion’ of the working day. The wonderful late-summer evening atmosphere in Merton College Chapel promises to be a very special experience or all.

Guest Conductor Benjamin Nicholas

Benjamin Nicholas is the Reed Rubin Organist and Director of Music of Merton College, Oxford. He has conducted the College Choir on tours to the USA, Sweden and France, on BBC Radio 3 & 4 and BBC TV, and on recordings for Delphian.

Benjamin Nicholas has conducted much of the large-scale choral repertoire including Elgar The Dream of Gerontius, Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, Verdi Requiem and Berlioz Te Deum.

As an organist, Benjamin has given concerts in the USA and in many cathedrals in the UK. He has played on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4, and on Christmas Day 2010 broadcast live on BBC 1 from Tewkesbury Abbey. In June 2014 he gave one of the opening concerts on the new Dobson organ in Merton College Chapel, an organ he has helped to design. His debut organ solo disc was released on Delphian in 2014.

Choral Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral

We are delighted to be returning to Christ Church for the second year running.

As well as their daily services in the Cathedral, the Choir’s reputation inevitably leads to a busy annual programme of concerts and overseas tours. The Choir has many award-winning recordings to its credit and works with several international orchestras and soloists.

Consort Workshop with David Hurley

David Hurley has been a member of the King’s Singers since 1990. Acclaimed worldwide for their virtuosity, life-affirming energy and charm, The King’s Singers are in global demand. We are delighted to be welcoming him to give a Consort Workshop during Course 5.

Double Grammy® award-winning artists, the group were honoured in 2009 for their Signum Classics release, Simple Gifts, and again in 2012 for their contribution to Eric Whitacre’s Light and Gold album on Universal/Decca. Recently voted into Gramophone Hall of Fame, rave reviews and repeated sell-out concerts confirm that The King’s Singers remain one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles.


During the week the full choir sings a wide range of music spanning the last five centuries up to the present day for the main course performances.

In your small CONSORTS you will sing a variety of music from madrigals to close-harmony and jazz arrangements.

You will be asked to bring some SOLO music to work on in your individual SINGING LESSONS and there will be a chance for you to perform any other music during an INFORMAL CONCERT.

Tutors and Presenters

Richard Tanner, Organ Director

Richard Tanner is an organist and choral director who specialised in the training of boys’ voices for 22 years. He has extensive experience working with professional and amateur musicians as well as in the recording industry, as artistic director of a concert series and in the fields of education, outreach and fundraising.

Since 2000 he has been a Musical Director for BBC Radio 4’s Daily Service, working regularly with the professional BBC Daily Service Singers.

He is currently Director of Music at Rugby School, one of the UK’s most prestigious and historic Public Schools, where he leads a team of fifty professional musicians.

Ralph Allwood, Course Director

Ralph Allwood MBE founded the Eton Choral Courses in 1980 and was Precentor and Director of Music at Eton College until 2011. Alongside positions as Conductor of Inner Voices, Director of Rodolfus Choir and Director of Music at the Old Royal Naval Chapel, Greenwich, Ralph is in high international demand for choral workshops and master-classes. He is a choral advisor for Novello and the Voices Foundation, and adjudicates the Choir of the Year Competition and the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

Samuel Evans, Singing Teacher

A recent addition to our roster, British baritone Samuel Evans studied as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music. Samuel is Music Director of Riverside Opera and teaches singing at Eton College.

Anita Morrison, Singing Teacher

A former winner of the Maggie Teyte Prize Competition, Anita has given recitals all over Europe and appeared with the Dallapiccola Ensemble in London, Milan and Rome.

Since she began to work with the choristers of Westminster Cathedral she has become increasingly devoted to her teaching. In addition to a private practice she is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, teaches regularly at Eton College and has been teaching on Eton Choral Courses for many years.

Giles Underwood, Singing Teacher

After reading Biology as an Academical Clerk at Magdalen College, Oxford, Giles Underwood attended the opera course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won prizes for English and Contemporary song and was generously supported by the Foyle Foundation. He studied then, as now, with Susan McCulloch. His wide operatic repertoire and extensive experience as a soloist with the UK’s top orchestras supplements his recital, recently Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and the Temple Festival with Julius Drake.


Course 5 takes place at The Queen's College, Oxford.

This is one of the organ courses, providing a unique opportunity for organists to develop accompanying experience by working with an excellent choir under expert guidance.

You will also have your own sessions on repertoire, improvisation, liturgy and other keyboard skills, and there will be more accompanied repertoire on the course. You will also be able to take full part in the course as a singer and gain valuable insight into singing technique from the workshops and master-classes.

All meals will be provided on campus as well as accommodation in the College.