About us

Music is at the heart of all we do. Through the very busy week everyone will take part in ensembles, flute choirs, warm up and technique sessions, where the focus is on active participation and building your confidence. We will guide you and help you achieve your goals – always with a view to developing your own musical voice – through participation in or listening to masterclasses, one-to one lessons with our flute teachers and pianists, playing in ensembles and groups with others, depending on which option you choose. There are concerts and masterclasses to inspire you to discover new repertoire. You will leave with a renewed energy and excitement for the year ahead.

How OFSS began

It all started in 1988 when two young teachers, Janet Way and Clive Conway, discussed starting a flute summer school in Oxford. Janet’s flute-playing niece Katie Bycroft was recruited as assistant to the directors. At the time there were just a couple of other courses based around particular teachers where students would come to sit at the feet of the master and play only once during the week. We felt there was a need for a more active week when flautists could enjoy group playing and learn through participation. One of the important ideas was that this week should be for everyone, not just those with dizzying technical skills. We wanted to attract players who just loved the flute and music but were busy with their other lives for the rest of the year. This is still our guiding principle.

While Oxford colleges can’t be rivalled for beauty and serenity we soon outgrew the accommodation and teaching spaces they can offer. In 2009 we moved to Radley College in Abingdon which has been a wonderful venue for 13 years. In 2023, we moved back to the city of Oxford, staying at St Edward’s school set in 100 acres of land in the north of Oxford. As well as its splendid Victorian quad, beautiful gardens and cobbled corners, St Edward’s offers full use of the fantastic Ogston Music School and accommodation in school boarding houses.

It’s now more than 30 years since the first Oxford Flute Summer School and in that time some of the biggest names in the flute world have worked with us: Jacques Zoon, William Bennett, Peter Lloyd, Michael Cox, Jeanne Baxtresser, Wissam Boustany, Michel Debost, Katherine Kemler, Patricia Morris, Peter Verhoyen, Sam Coles, Juliette Bausor, Adam Walker and Lorna McGhee. The list goes on…

Our multi layered course still provides options for the most advanced player and the uncertain returner to the flute world: everyone’s contribution is equally valued.

Our goals have not changed. Inclusivity is key, music is at the heart of all our teaching and Oxford Flute Summer School is proud of all that our students have achieved over the years.