The Oxford & Cambridge Singing School
Established in 2013, The Oxford and Cambridge Singing School is for boys and girls aged 7–14 who love to sing. The singing school was established to give children the opportunity to sing great classical music to a high standard in a relaxed and fun environment and to develop their confidence and ability in singing and performing.
The course director is Dr Edward Wickham, Director of Music at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he founded the first College-based children’s girls choir in the country. Each course is run by a local team of choral experts from Oxford, Cambridge and London, each with considerable experience in working with children. Please read full biographies for all of our team below. All of our coaches and staff members are checked by the Disclose and Barring Service – DBS (formerly known as CRB).
If you have any questions about us or our courses we would be delighted to hear from you. Please go to our contact page for more information.
Meet the team
Dr Edward Wickham is a leading expert in vocal pedagogy, and is much sought-after internationally as a coach for children’s, student and adult choirs. He has been Director and Fellow in Music at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge since 2003, and is an Affiliate Lecturer at the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, where he is also Course Principal of the MMus in Choral Studies, a Master’s programme which attracts choral practitioners from around the world.
In 2008 Dr Wickham established a children’s Girls’ Choir at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. This was the first college-based choir in the UK and has subsequently provided a model for other such choirs. The Girls’ Choir at St Catharine’s has, in its first ten years, undertaken a range of high-level engagements, appearing several times on BBC Radio and making three CD recordings. The choir has received many plaudits: The Observer newspaper described the choir as ‘exceptional’ and the Daily Telegraph wrote of the choir’s ‘artless dexterity … unified by a thread of tenderness and warmth’. The quality of training provided by Dr Wickham and the choir was in 2015 confirmed when the choir’s head chorister was awarded the BBC’s coveted ‘Chorister of the Year’ award. He currently runs Cambridge University’s choral outreach programme, The Cambridge Choral Experience.
Dr Wickham began his musical education as a chorister at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle where, as well as singing daily services, he regularly performed for the Royal Family. He continued his education at Oxford University, where he was a choral scholar at Christ Church Cathedral, and King’s College, London, where he received his PhD. He has throughout his career maintained a busy schedule both as conductor and academic. Soon after leaving Oxford he established the vocal ensemble The Clerks, with which he has made over two dozen recordings, and winning awards such as the Gramophone Early Music Award. He brings to his work with children’s choirs a formidable range of skills and expertise: in vocal technique, ensemble training, music theory and historical appreciation. His background as a singer and conductor in the centuries-old English Choral Tradition and in the academic world of Cambridge University provides him with an outstanding breadth of knowledge in the field of choral music.
Helen studied at the Royal College of Music (where she gained postgraduate diplomas in singing and teaching) before embarking on a career as soloist, ensemble singer and coach. Her work with young people ranges from coaching the choir of Great St Mary’s and the London Oratory School, to teaching students in Cambridge, London and Birmingham. Highlights of Helen’s performing career include recitals at Wigmore Hall and her solo debut at the BBC Proms; staged productions with Sir Simon Rattle at the Salzburg Festival (Rameau, Les Boréades – Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and the Berlin Philharmonie (Bernstein Wonderful Town, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra); and appearances worldwide with numerous vocal ensembles including The Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen, Gabrieli Consort, The Clerks and I Fagiolini.
Ghislaine began her musical education as a singer in her local church, where, at the age of twelve, she took up the organ with Robert Yeomans. Soon after, she gained the Anne Guy Organ Scholarship to Clifton College to study with James Hills, where she also held the position of Head Chorister, before being offered the place of sole Specialist Organist at Wells Cathedral School to study with Matthew Owens. At the ages of thirteen and fourteen, Ghislaine won the ‘RCO National Performance Festival for Young Organists’ Competition’, resulting in organ recitals in both Hereford and Gloucester as part of the Three Choirs’ Festivals, and took up the position of Junior Organ Scholar at Wells Cathedral in 2008. During her Gap Year, Ghislaine worked as Organ Scholar at Guildford Cathedral, where she also won the senior category of the South of England Organ Competition. She has gained her ARCO diploma and graduated with a degree in music from Christ Church, Oxford in 2014, as the Senior Organ Scholar.
Alex held the Organ Scholarship and read Music at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, graduating with the Martin Steele Memorial Prize. He was composer, orchestrator and Musical Director of The Cambridge Footlights for three years and, having also completed a PGCE in Cambridge, is now Organist and Teacher of Academic Music and Music Technology at Stowe School, Buckinghamshire. He combines this with extensive and varied freelance work across the UK as a pianist, organist and conductor. For four years he worked closely with the St Catharine’s Girls’ Choir and the Choristers of Little St Mary’s in Cambridge, where he was Assistant Director of Music until 2013. Alex holds the Associateship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists, as well as Licentiate diplomas in piano performance from the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College of Music, London.
Former Organ Scholar of Worcester College, Oxford, (2007–2010), Thomas then spent a year as the Organ Scholar of Canterbury Cathedral before moving to study at the Royal College of Music, simultaneously holding the position of organ Scholar of St. Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge. Thomas has previously studied the organ with Stephen Farr and William Whitehead and conducting with Paul Brough. As a keyboard player, Thomas has a particular interest in continuo accompaniment and he has performed regularly with various ensembles, and enjoys working with his newly-formed period ensemble, Ensemble Hesperi. Thomas was Assistant Organist and Tutor to the Choristers at Magdalen College, Oxford from 2012 before returnining to Worcester College.
Dr Simon Jackson
Simon combines his work as an Organist and Conductor at Little St Mary’s, Cambridge with his work as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick University. Simon began his musical training as a Chorister at York Minster and moved to Cambridge in 2002 to study at Jesus College, where he was awarded a Choral Scholarship. After his undergraduate studies, he spent a year in Peterborough, singing as a lay clerk, before returning to Cambridge to continue his academic studies. He has a PhD on the musical interests of the 17th Century Metaphysical Poet George Herbert and is pursuing his academic studies alongside his work as a freelance musician in Cambridge.
In September 2017, Simon will take up the role of Director of Music at Peterhouse College, Cambridge.
Samantha Wickham studied Classics at university before working in HR management for many years within the banking and insurance industry. Samantha is responsibile for the business managment, marketing and administration of the singing School. She and Edward have three children and they are passionate about giving children the opportunity to explore classical music in a fun and rewarding way.
Ben read music at St Catharine’s College Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar. Here he helped to run the first collegiate choir for girls in the UK, and conducted the university wind orchestra. Specialising in composition, he became a Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist when his string quartet ‘In Memoriam’ gained first prize from the Imperial War Museum. Commissions include a set of canticles premiered in St Paul’s Cathedral, a song-cycle of 28 Haikus, a short film at Ealing Studios, an opera about the life of St Catharine and a cabaret-musical performed in London and Edinburgh. Ben has worked regularly with Heritage Opera, MD-ing tours of ‘La Boheme’, ‘The Barber of Seville’, ‘Tosca’ and ‘The Marriage of Figaro’. As MD of theatre company The Ruby Dolls, he has performed cabarets around the UK and on BBC Radio. Most recently Ben was Musical Director for Tooting Arts Club’s highly acclaimed West End transfer of ‘Sweeney Todd’. Ben has taught and accompanied at Birmingham School of Acting, Oxford School of Drama, Millennium School of Performing Arts, and has led workshops at the Urdang Academy and London Studio Centre. He has toured with Youth Music Theatre UK, and spent a year accompanying for the musical theatre course at the Royal Academy and at Guildhall. He is currently the Genesis Sixteen Conducting Scholar 2016-17, and continues to run choirs in Ealing, whilst offering private voice and keyboard tuition.
Ana-Maria Rincon attended the Guildhall School of Music on a scholarship where she specialised in Early Music. In her final year she was awarded the Celia Mizony prize and along with her group ‘Musikfreunde’ won the Early Music Network Competition.
Ana-Maria’s recent work in opera includes performances of The Fairy Queen and Medee with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, Handel’s Tamerlano, Monteverdi’s Poppea, Orfeo, and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with Teatro Verdi di Pisa. Her extensive concert work includes many European tours, a recording of Handel’s Rinaldo with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music; concerts in Russia with The Dufay Collective, solo cantatas with the ensemble Florilegium and a tour of Europe singing Handel’s solo motet “Silete Venti” with the E.U.B.O.
Ana-Maria and the conductor Laurence Cummings have performed together in many venues around Europe including Norway, Italy and France. They have performed recitals at the London Handel Festival and have recorded a CD of Handel duets and solos, entitled Love Handel. Most recently Ana Maria has joined forces with the violinist Julia Bishop and harpsichordist Howard Beach creating a new group ‘Purcell’s Muse’ performing, in their unique way, all the baroque greats.
Katy Silverman is a professional pianist and organist and is currently organ scholar at St Mary’s Battersea. During her Music degree at Worcester College, Oxford, Katy conducted and accompanied the Chapel Choir as Organ Scholar, featuring on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Sunday Worship’ and playing in various cathedrals including St Paul’s, Gloucester and St Alban’s. She holds the Associateship diploma of the Royal College of Organists.
Katy works freelance teaching a range of piano and organ students, leading a school choir, and performing as a recitalist and accompanist. In September 2016 she joined the Royal College of Music to study for a Masters in Performance, as well as becoming the 2016-17 Guildford Cathedral organ scholar.