Ben Parry has a busy career as a conductor, composer, arranger, singer and producer in both classical and light music fields. He has made over 100 CD recordings and his compositions and arrangements are published by Oxford University Press, Peters Edition and Faber Music, including the popular Faber Carol Book. He collaborates regularly with the writer Garth Bardsley: their choral piece Flame was performed by a choir of 300 singers at the Royal Albert Hall in the 2012 BBC Proms and their carol Three Angels by King’s College Choir on BBC TV’s Carols from King’s. He is currently Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, and co-Director of professional ensemble London Voices.
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 in our choir, including Guest Conductor for the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Concert and composing the titular track Bright Star for Cadenza’s CD of Christmas music.
Ben comes from a large musical family (Mendelssohn is a direct ancestor). He studied music at Cambridge University, where he sang with King’s College Choir. He was Musical Director and a member of The Swingle Singers; touring the world and performing with several of the world’s leading musicians, including Pierre Boulez, Stephane Grappelli and Dizzy Gillespie. As well conducting and performing with the group, Ben composed and arranged over fifty pieces as well as co-producing their albums with Virgin Classics and EMI.
Ben lived in Scotland for eight years from 1995, where co-founded the Dunedin Consort, was Director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and Director of Choral Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). During his time here, he worked as a conductor with the Scottish Ensemble, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Meadows Chamber Orchestra, Haddo House Opera (conducting five productions) and Paragon Ensemble Scotland, and with young singers, including the RSAMD in Glasgow, Young Choirs.net and the Aberdeen Youth Choir.
Ben then moved to London and has since been Director of Music at St. Paul’s School and the Junior Academy at the Royal Academy of Music. He remains in high demand as an orchestral conductor, counting the Academy of Ancient Music, Britten Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville and the Vancouver Youth Symphony on his list of past engagements. 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 Hobbit, Kung Fu Panda, The Avengers, The Hunger Games and Harry Potter.
Major commissions include the Cathedral Choral Society of Washington DC, St John’s College Cambridge, Chelmsford, Norwich, Ely and Sheffield Cathedrals, BBC Singers and the Aldeburgh Festival, as well as Cadenza, of course! Ben’s music also featured in the 1st episode of the hit US TV series, Glee. He has composed many tracks for the production music company, Audio Network, whose music can be heard throughout the world on radio and TV. He has also sung with the Gabrieli Consort, Taverner Consort and Tenebrae, as well as on countless film and TV soundtracks. He appeared on the West End stage in the UK premiere of Cy Colman’s musical City of Angels in 1994.
In 2014, Ben was made an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for his services to the music industry.
More information about Ben Parry can be found on his website, from which the images on this page have been used with kind permission.