Music Department 

Organist and Director of Music

George de Voil MA (Oxon.) FRCO

George de Voil’s reputation as a conductor took off in 2014 when he made the world première recording of Stanford’s Mass in G, Op. 46. The disc, on which he directed choral and orchestral forces, was praised by BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone, and led to George being named a Classic FM “Young Artist to Watch”. MusicWeb International praised his “stylish” direction, calling his recording of Parry’s Songs of Farewell “exciting and full of conviction”, while Martin Bird declared in the Elgar Society Journal, “George de Voil is something of a find… He may be young, but his innate musicianship, his feeling for line, for balance, for phrasing, for the placing of chords, is exciting…”. Choir & Organ remarked, “the fresh-voiced Exeter College Choir achieve a superb blend under their intelligent young conductor”.

George is a versatile conductor, working with a range of ensembles in and around London. As Director of Music at St James’s, Sussex Gardens, since 2015, he follows in the foootsteps of Harold Darke and Sir George Thalben-Ball, overseeing the fine professional choir. Under his leadership, the distinguished musical tradition of this church has been revitalised, with a new organ scholarship, and a £450,000 rebuild by Mander Organs of the 1882 Hill & Son instrument. For six years George was Director of Chapel & Choral Music at Wellington College, where he built the reputation of the Chapel Choir, leading them on tour to Spain, France, and Germany, and in collaborations with the choirs of Eton College, Royal Holloway, Guildford Cathedral, and Merton College, Oxford. He now directs the choir of Strawberry Hill House in London, which performs in Horace Walpole’s Eighteenth Century Gothic mansion. He is delighted to have been entrusted with the directorship of Wokingham Choral Society, where his predecessors include Edward Gardner, Paul Daniel, and Stephen Layton.

A prizewinning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, with a first class degree from Oxford University, George has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, and given organ concerts in Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, as well as across the UK and Europe. George is on the full-time teaching staff of King’s College School, Wimbledon, and in 2024 he will play solo recitals on the new Eule organ of Magdalen College, Oxford, and in the 50th anniversary series at Hexham Abbey.

Associate Director of Music & Organist

Ben Giddens BA ARCO

Ben Giddens is currently Associate Organist at St Martin in the Fields, London. His duties involve accompanying the various choirs and performing at services, concerts and broadcasts. Whilst at St Martin’s, he has had the opportunity to perform with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the Brandenburg Sinfonia. Ben combines this with a portfolio of freelance work, teaching and performing, as well as holding the post of Associate Director of Music and Organist at St James’, Sussex Gardens where he regularly contributes to the liturgical life of the Church.

Between 2014-2015 Ben held the post of Organist at St Bartholomew the Great, London. Whilst at St Bart’s, Ben had the opportunity to work closely with Nigel Short and the professional choir.

From 2009-2012 Ben held the post of Sub-Organist at Magdalen College, Oxford where he featured on recordings and toured to Belgium and the Netherlands with the Chapel Choir. Prior to this Ben held the position of Acting Assistant Organist at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where he performed live on BBC Radio 3 and performed at many Royal occasions.

Ben holds a first class honours degree in Music from the University of East Anglia. Whilst studying for his degree, he held the organ scholarship at Norwich Cathedral and had the opportunity to perform live on BBC Radio 3 and toured to Malta and the USA with the Cathedral Choirs.

Ben currently maintains an active schedule of freelance performing and holds the post of accompanist at the University of Reading as well as deputising regularly at The Tower of London, St Bride’s Fleet Street and St Paul’s Knightsbridge.

Organ scholar

Jozef Gaszka

Jozef Gaszka is a British born organist raised in Surrey. He is on a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music studying organ with Dr David Ponsford. Jozef hopes to continue his organ studies abroad after completing his Bachelor of Music in July 2023.

As a recitalist Jozef gives organ concerts each year, most notably he was invited to play at The Queen’s college, Oxford and the RAM Bach European series alongside the Academy Bach consort conducted by John Butt. Jozef has also been asked to perform with the University of London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Stark. He enjoys playing a wide range of repertoire from the 16th century to contemporary organ music. In 2019, Jozef performed in a silent-film concert of Nosferatu with coaching from Franz Danksagmüller using live electronics and percussion.

Jozef was the organ scholar at the Grosvenor chapel (September 2021-22) working with Director of Music Richard Hobson and the professional choir.