THE ORGAN SCHOLARS
Christopher Holman is the Parry-Wood Organ Scholar at Exeter College, and presently directs Exeter College Chapel Choir and organises the College's weekly organ recital series. In the wider University of Oxford, he is pursuing a doctorate in historical musicology in Bach organ performance practice under the supervision of Robert Quinney, and is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Bach Keyboard Music and Techniques of Composition at New College. He also is the Organ Teacher at the Dragon School in Oxford.
Since winning the Albert Schweitzer Competition, he has performed at major international festivals, including the Leipzig Bach Festival in Germany, the Festival international de l'orgue ancienne in Sion, Switzerland, and the Festival Internacional de Órgano y Música Antigua in Oaxaca, Mexico. In 2017, he held a research fellowship at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund, and has since performed on many of the most important historic organs in the world.
Christopher has presented papers and lectured at leading international musicology conferences in the UK, the USA, Germany, and Switzerland, and his research has been published in Early Music and Keyboard Perspectives. He is also Founder and Editor of the online journal Vox Humana, an affiliate publication of the American Guild of Organists, and is Director of Musicology for the Bach Society Houston. He studied organ with Robert Bates at the University of Houston and Dana Robinson at the University of Illinois, singing with Cynthia Haymon, and choral conducting with Betsy Cook Weber and Chester Alwes.
Miles Swinden is the Junior Organ Scholar at Exeter College and primarily accompanies Exeter College Chapel Choir on the organ and occasionally conducts. In October 2020, he will begin as a first-year undergraduate student reading music.
Miles started learning the piano aged 7 and joined his first choir when he was 9. From 11 he attended S. Peter's Collegiate School in Wolverhampton, where he immersed himself in the rich musical life, playing the clarinet, saxophone, and keyboard instruments, and gaining valuable experience accompanying, conducting, and playing in a wide range of ensembles. He was elected Head Boy in his final year.
The opportunity to learn the organ came from Dr David Rendell at S. Peter’s Collegiate Church when Miles was 11. He studied piano with Valerie Sumner and gained grade 8 distinctions on both instruments aged 17. For the last three years he has been Organ Scholar at St Peter's.
Miles is an all-round musician who plays in a variety of styles and studies composers from Bach to Bernard Hermann. He also enjoys choral directing and is an upcoming composer. His recent entry for Make Music Day 2020, a choral setting of William Carlos Williams's poem By the Road to the Contagious Hospital, was selected as one of the winning pieces.
Outside of music, Miles has a passion for all sports, particularly cycling and football, as is an avid Liverpool fan.
Past Organ Scholars
Full list here.