ACT Organ School

The ACT Organ School was founded in 2003 by the Wesley Music Foundation in collaboration with a number of private schools, churches and generous individuals, who together have provided scholarships and other vital support from the outset. It arose in direct response to an acute need for high quality pipe organ teaching in Canberra and is aimed primarily at reaching and teaching the next generation of organists.

During the first five years of its operation students were guided in their studies by two of Australia’s leading organists, Peter Guy (Director of Music, Newcastle Cathedral) and Philip Swanton (Head of Organ Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music – University of Sydney), from whom they also enjoyed regular master classes, workshops and performances. Since 2009 Philip Swanton has continued to build on those good foundations, visiting Canberra each Wednesday and Thursday of school term to give lessons on the magnificent 3-manual Wesley Church organ. Philip is passionate about inspiring young organists on their journey with the “King of Instruments”; under his direction Organ School students have achieved remarkable success in recent competitions and examinations.
Over 50 students have participated in the program since 2003, many of whom now play regularly for church services both locally and elsewhere. Several have gone on to continue their organ studies at tertiary level while two former students are now holding Organ Scholar positions in the UK.

In response to the growing interest among young people for learning the organ, the WMF has invited Brisbane organist Christopher Wrench to join the teaching team in 2017. Christopher is an exceptionally fine player and an experienced pedagogue.

A number of organ scholarships are offered by the WMF, with auditions held in late November each year. Reasonably proficient young pianists who may be considering a move from piano stool to organ bench are welcome to contact the Wesley Music Centre at any time for more information about lessons.

Enquiries should be directed to the Wesley Music Centre.

In 2017 an article was published in the Sydney Organ Journal about Phillip's time at the School. Download here.


We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live, learn and work, and pay our respects to the First Nations Peoples and their Elders, past, present and emerging.