Ben Parry (musician)

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Ben Parry

Ben Parry (born 1965) is a British musician, composer, conductor, singer, arranger and producer in both classical and light music fields. He is the Director of London Voices and was formally Artistic Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ben was born and raised in Ipswich, Suffolk, where his father was an organist and music teacher. He studied at Ipswich School and St Catharine's College of the University of Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar. He sang in the King's College Choir and performed in musicals and cabarets.


Early in his career, he was a singer, music director and arranger with The Swingle Singers.[2] With the group, he toured the world and worked with musicians including Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio and Stephane Grapelli. He wrote over 50 arrangements and compositions for the group and co-produced their recordings for EMI and Virgin Classics.

In 1994, Ben was in the original London production of Cy Coleman's City of Angels at the Prince of Wales Theatre in the West End. In 1995, he and his family moved to Scotland. There, he co-founded the distinguished vocal ensemble, Dunedin Consort, and directed performances at festivals in the UK, Spain, Belgium, France and Canada. He was chorusmaster of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and director of choral music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in Glasgow. He directed five productions for Haddo House Opera.

From 2003 to 2008, Ben was director of music at St Paul's School, London. He subsequently moved to Suffolk and took up the post of director at Junior Academy in London, combined with his freelance career. He is Director of the professional choir, London Voices,[3] who have been at the forefront of choral singing in the UK since their foundation by conductor Terry Edwards in 1973. The choir has performed on the soundtracks of major films, including "The Hobbit", The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, the Harry Potter series, Spectre, Aladdin and Jurassic World. The choir has performed and recorded with major artists, including Sir Paul McCartney, Dave Brubeck, Bryn Terfel, Angela Gheorghiu and Renée Fleming.

He was Assistant Director of Music at King's College, Cambridge from 2013 to 2021, in which role he directed King's Voices.

Ben has composed a significant amount of choral music, published by Faber, OUP and Edition Peters.[4] He collaborates regularly with author and lyricist Garth Bardsley, and together they have had works premiered by the BBC Singers,[5] Sheffield Cathedral, Aldeburgh Voices, BBC Singers, St Andrew's University, Chelmsford Cathedral, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and London Voices. They are currently developing a new chamber opera for the baritone Christopher Purves.

As a conductor, Ben has worked with the Academy of Ancient Music, Britten Sinfonia, English Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, National Youth Orchestra of Wales,[6] Cumbria Youth Orchestra and the Vancouver Youth Symphony. He has sung with the Taverner Consort, Gabrieli Consort, Schütz Choir of London and Tenebrae (choir).

In October 2012 Ben was appointed director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. [1] In 2016 he appointed a new Chief Executive, Anne Besford, to run the organisation, retaining the roles of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. In 2023, after 11 very successful years at the helm of NYCGB, he stood down, first as Artistic Director (replaced by Lucy Hollins as Creative Director) then as Principal Conductor (succeeded by Nicholas Chalmers) to devote more time to his freelance work, most principally as Director of London Voices and composing. He was made an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2013 for his services to the music industry.

Parry has made well over 100 recordings for EMI, Decca, Collegium, Virgin, Linn and Signum. He is married to violinist Kathryn Parry and they have three children: Freya Parry, Imogen (Midge) Parry, and George "G-man" Parry.

Selected discography[edit]

  • Choir of Royal Holloway 'The Hours' - Choral Music by Ben Parry' (Signum Classics 2020) - composer
  • Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge 'Christmas Music by Ben Parry' (Regent Records 2019) - composer
  • King's College Choir: William Byrd Great Service (EMI 1987) – singer
  • Cy Coleman: City of Angels: original London cast recording (1st Night 1994) – soloist
  • Taverner Consort: Purcell Dido and Aeneas (BBC/Sony 1995) – soloist[7]
  • Gabrieli Consort: Music for San Rocco (DG Archiv 1996) – singer
  • Dunedin Consort: Copland/Barber In the Beginning (Linn 2000) – conductor[8]
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Mackerras: Mozart Requiem (Linn 2003) – chorusmaster
  • Paul McCartney: Ecce Cor Meum (EMI 2006) – chorusmaster
  • Tenebrae: Prayers for Mankind (Signum 2010) – producer
  • Coldplay: When I Need a Friend (Everyday Life) – conductor
  • Ryan Gosling: I'm Just Ken (Barbie: The Album) – choirmaster


  1. ^ a b "Ben Parry - Director". National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 26 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  2. ^ Ian @ Kitsch. "Yahoo! Groups". Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Ben Parry Biography". London Voices. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  4. ^ "new classics licensing". editionpeters. 6 August 2013. Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Proms 30 & 31: BBC Singers/Bach Choir/NYCGB/Hill; BBCSSO/NYOS/Runnicles – review". Guardian. 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Friday 29 July 2011, 42nd Fishguard International Music Festival". Archived from the original on 21 August 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Purcell: Dido and Aeneas (Emily Van Evera, Ben Parry, Janet Lax,…) | Classical music review from". 20 January 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Copland/Barber - Dunedin Consort - Sunday Herald". Linn Records. 4 February 2001. Retrieved 26 December 2015.

External links[edit]