Organ Studies

Organ study options

Undergraduate Audition Requirements

Postgraduate Audition Requirements

Over the last two decades, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music has become Australia’s leading centre of organ teaching and performance research, with a reputation for teaching excellence and student achievements resonating well beyond the nation’s borders. Under the leadership of our principal organ teacher, Philip Swanton, some 30 young organists have completed a degree in Organ Studies at ‘the Con’ during this time, with several going on to further studies at prestigious overseas institutions, including the Paris Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Two former students have subsequently become Organ Scholars at Westminster Abbey while other alumni are now working as recitalists, teachers and church musicians both locally and in Switzerland, France, Austria, England and North America.

This excellence in teaching led to the receipt in 2012 of an exceptionally generous $1m endowment for organ studies (“The Richard and Doreen Wilson Organ Scholarship Fund”) – one of the largest single donations ever received by the Conservatorium – from which we are able to provide a good number of UG and PG academic scholarships each year and also facilitate short-term overseas study trips for deserving students.

Our students gain a thorough grounding in performance techniques while expanding their awareness of historical context through systematic exposure to repertoire from all the major schools of organ composition from the early baroque to the present day. From the outset, we encourage our students’ capacity to make sound, independent judgments (for example, in matters of registration practice). As a result of our long-standing collaboration with a number of major city churches – St James’ King St and Christ Church St Laurence in particular – students gain important hands-on experience as ‘Organ Scholars’. This ensures that they complete their studies well equipped for the demands of life as both professional organists and church musicians.

Since the restoration of the 3-manual and pedal Verbrugghen Hall organ in 2001, students have at their disposal a first-class teaching instrument in one of Australia’s most beautiful, historical performance spaces. In 2016 a new 3-manual Noorlander “Hauptwerk” organ was installed in a dedicated Organ Studio. Equipped with sample sets of original organs from the most important schools of organ-building and composition, this state-of-the art instrument has proven to be an invaluable teaching and practice resource.

We also host the Sydney Conservatorium Organ Academy (SCOMA) on average every two years, attracting students from across Australia and NZ. Over the course of five days, leading overseas tutors share their expertise in a jam-packed program of masterclasses and performances.


Organ Studies Staff