At the end of Cadenza’s first Weekend Workshop held in March 2003 at Carberry Tower, at which he had been one of our tutors, we invited Ben Parry to become our Patron. We were delighted when he accepted without hesitation. He has since played an active role, including Guest Conductor for the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival Concert and composing a new carol for Cadenza’s new CD of Christmas music, due to be launched in summer 2012.
Ben comes from a large musical family (Mendelssohn is a distant ancestor). He studied music at Cambridge University, where he sang with King’s College Choir. For five years he was a member and Co-Musical Director of the international vocal group The Swingle Singers, during which time he visited more than twenty countries and performed with several of the world’s leading musicians. Ben wrote many arrangements for the group which were regular programme items, including Bach’s Liebster Jesu, Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture, Debussy’s Golliwog’s Cake Walk and Lennon and McCartney’s Yesterday.
Since 1992, Ben has put his hand to all manner of things musical, including singing, playing, conducting, acting, composing and recording both in classical and light music fields. As a singer, he has appeared with many professional groups, including the Taverner and Gabrieli Consorts, the Cambridge Singers and Electric Phoenix, and has sung on numerous TV and radio commercials and film soundtracks, as well as on the stage in London’s West End.
Ben came to Scotland in 1995 with his family, where he established himself as a conductor and musical director. He was co-founder and Musical Director of the Dunedin Consort, and Chorus Master of the SCO Chorus. During his time in Scotland, he worked as a conductor with the Scottish Ensemble, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Meadows Chamber Orchestra, Haddo House Opera and paragon Ensemble Scotland, and with young singers, including the RSAMD in Glasgow, Eton Choral Courses, Young Choirs.net and the Aberdeen Youth Choir.
In late 2003, Ben moved to London, to take up the post of Director of Music at St. Paul’s School. After leaving St Paul’s School, he succeeded Jonathan Willcocks as Director of the Junior Academy at the Royal Academy of Music.
Ben is a Director of the annual Eton Choral Courses, and co-Director of the professional choir, London Voices. He worked closely with Sir Paul McCartney on his classical choral work, Ecce Cor Meum, as well as conducting on the soundtracks of major films such as The Golden Compass, Kung Fu Panda and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2. Ben also directs Aldeburgh Voices, performing annually at the Aldeburgh Festival.
In August 2012 Ben was appointed to the highly prestigious post of Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.
More information about Ben Parry can be found on his website.