Mr Jeremy Summerly

Mr Jeremy Summerly

I am the Director of Music at St Peter’s and I have overall responsibility for all practical music-making within college. Most visibly this involves conducting the Chapel Choir and thus supervising the musical endeavours of the Choral and Organ Scholars. However, I am also charged to encourage all forms of music-making in college, whether vocal or instrumental, classical, pop, folk, jazz, or world music.


In College, I teach the Keyboard Skills module of the Music degree. I will also be holding conducting seminars for those students (whatever their course of study) who think that they have something to say in front of a choir or an orchestra. For 26 years, I taught the full gamut of historical studies, harmony and counterpoint, and aural skills at the Royal Academy of Music, where I was Head of Academic Studies and Head of Undergraduate Programmes.


I founded the Oxford Camerata vocal ensemble in 1984, two years after graduating from New College. In 1992, I augmented the group with the Oxford Camerata instrumental ensemble. Between 1990 and 1996 I conducted Schola Cantorum of Oxford, the university’s longest-running mixed-voice chamber choir. In 2002, I founded the Royal Academy Consort, a modern-instrument orchestra comprising postgraduates and final-year undergraduates at the Royal Academy of Music. Since 2004, I have been one of the conductors of the Choir of London. Since 2010, I have been Director of Music at the London church of St Luke’s, Chelsea, and, more recently, I have become Co-Artistic Director of Oxford Baroque. Over the last three decades I have conducted in venues in North America, the Middle East, the Far East, Southern Africa, and all around Europe. I made my BBC Proms début in 1999 and at the Philharmonie in Berlin in 2005.


My postgraduate work at King’s College, London attempted to ascribe authorship to fragmentary sources of Early-Tudor polyphony. I have also investigated the music sketchbooks of Elgar and the 13th-century motet. Latterly, I have specialized in issues of historical performance practice, and this research informs my work as a broadcaster for BBC Radio 3, for whom I have worked as a freelance presenter for 25 years. I am currently writing a narrative history of the Christmas carol in England – a book that has grown out of a 10-part series that I wrote and presented in 2013 for BBC Radio 4, titled A Cause for Carolling.