Johann Christoph Oley was a German organist and composer. There is some evidence that he studied with J.S. Bach for a short time in 1749, but none connecting him with the Thomasschule. In 1755 he became organist of the church in Bernburg, but moved to the church of St Stephan in neighbouring Aschersleben in January 1762 because of its superior organ. To augment his salary he assumed the duties of assistant schoolmaster as well.
Contemporaries praised Johann Christoph Oley’s skill on the keyboard and organ, and his compositions attracted some interest. His organ writing reminded Johann Friedrich Agricola, another Bach pupil, of the glories of an earlier age. J. Beckmann, in a review of 1778, criticized carelessness in his harmony, giving credence perhaps to Gerber’s statement that in the main Oley was self-taught. Bach’s personal influence was probably insignificant: Sietz mentioned some manuscript works by Oley in a private collection in Dessau, but only a set of 14 keyboard variations (published in Nuremberg, n.d) and the four-volume Variirte Choräle (Quedlinburg, 1773-1792) seem to be extant.
The Trost organ of Walthershausen is a typical instrument of the Thuringian organ building tradition, which contains such characteristic stops as the violon bass in the pedal, Terzmixturen, Sesquialtera, Viola di Gamba, etc. These stops, along with a wealth of well-blended others, allow for an endless abundance of sound combinations, paving the way for the German-Romantic organ of the following century.