RCO St Giles Organ School

RCO Academy | History of St Giles International Organ School

RCO St. Giles Organ School is a new concept which takes the long-successful St. Giles International Organ School (SGIOS) under the stewardship of the Royal College of Organists (RCO). 

SGIOS began in February 1992, after National Learn the Organ Year 1990 had identified a huge number of organists looking in vain for good teaching.  Thus Anne Marsden Thomas established St. Giles International Organ School (SGIOS).  Her guiding principles of SGIOS were professional, structured and flexible organ tuition delivered to students of all ages and all levels of ambition and experience.   Based at St. Giles Cripplegate Church in the City of London, and with branches around the UK, SGIOS grew rapidly and before long the SGIOS team of professional organists under Anne Marsden Thomas’s leadership was teaching over 200 students.  

SGIOS’s first partnership with the RCO was in 2008, when the RCO partnered SGIOS in running its annual summer course (established 1997) in the City of London.  The summer course always attracts record numbers to the course (usually at least 70) from countries around the world.  This arrangement was so successful that RCO has partnered SGIOS in all subsequent courses.

In Autumn 2010 RCO extended its partnership with SGIOS, accepting the administration of SGIOS’s programme of classes.  From 1st October 2011 the co-ordination of SGIOS’s individual organ teaching practices also came under the stewardship of RCO.   Existing SGIOS students noticed no change as Anne Marsden Thomas, as Head of RCO St. Giles Organ School, continues to lead the teacher team, design the classes, direct the summer course and teach many of the organ students.  Meanwhile, under the new arrangements, RCO St. Giles Organ School benefits from the RCO’s professional structures and services.  Perhaps most important of all is the continuity that the RCO offers, thus ensuring professional, structured and flexible organ tuition that all hope will continue to serve and inspire student organists for many years to come.

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