Summer Organist Tutor

Based in Edinburgh, John Riley is a freelance musician. His varied career has included music retailing, Piano-Director of a German spa orchestra, and working in schools with children of a very wide range of abilities, including many years as teacher in charge of music and computing studies at a special needs school. As a flexible musician, John is experienced in working in a range of styles and contexts. John is particularly noted as a performer and teacher of organ improvisation. He is also an exponent in the neglected art of classical piano improvisation.

John has acted as guest tutor on two of the annual London Organ Improvisation Courses, (LOIC). He has given classes on improvisation to various organists’ associations and schools across the UK, also several for Cambridge and Oxford Universities as part of the organ scholars awards schemes, most recently for Cambridge University in March 2023. In June 2019, John gave a recital on the famous Princess Amalia Organ in Berlin, together with an improvisation class for Berlin church cantors. In 2021, he acted as tutor for the RCO-SCOTS organ training day at Dunblane Cathedral, and in May 2022, gave a presentation on organ improvisation to the annual conference of the Scottish Federation of Organists.

John’s recitals invariably contain improvisations on submitted themes or pastiches on ‘hidden melodies’ and he has performed at a number of major venues and festivals. These include:- Bavokerk, Haarlem, (Haarlem International Organ Festival); Örgryte Nya Kyrka, (Gothenburg International Organ Academy); Chester Cathedral; Liverpool Anglican Cathedral; Kelvingrove Art Gallery.