Musical Director

Chris Parsons

Chris Parsons is a community musician, conductor, trumpeter and teacher based in the UK. He read Music at the University of York before completing a Masters in Historical Performance Practice at the Royal College of Music in 2014. In September 2022 he won the 'Best Music Director' Award 2022 from Making Music for his work in Community Music (specifically with the Bury Friendly Orchestra) and Ely Hero Award 2022 for his work with Ely Arts Festival.

He divides his time professionally as a teacher, community musician, trumpeter and conductor, and has performed across the UK and Europe, including tours in Germany, Denmark and Estonia.

As a trumpeter, he has performed across the UK and Europe, both as a soloist and as an orchestra player including with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Britten Sinfonia, Manchester Baroque (Principal) and London Handel Festival Orchestra (Principal). 

He has performed in many prestigious festivals and venues including the BBC Proms (live on BBC Radio 3), Palace of Versailles, St Martin-in-the-Fields and conducted a live broadcast of Bach’s Magnificat on Klassikaraadio (Estonian National Radio) 

As a specialist baroque conductor he has directed a number of major works including operas and oratorios by Handel (Semele/Acis and Galatea/Messiah/Samson), Purcell (The Fairy Queen, King Arthur, Dido and Aeneas) and many works by Bach, Vivaldi and lesser known English contemporaries of Purcell and Handel. 
He conducts all eras of music and has directed many major orchestral and choral works.  These include Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Symphonies by Haydn, Schubert and Arriaga, Mozart’s Requiem and new commissions by the composers David Sims, Jonathan Brigg and Nils Greenhow. He conducts a large scale community concert in Ely Cathedral every summer featuring over 350 local school children. 

In December 2021 Chris was appointed Artistic Director of the Ely Arts Festival. He regularly leads singing and orchestral workshops and has articles published by Oxford University Press. 

He has led workshops in schools for Britten Sinfonia as well as delivering workshops for Britten Sinfonia as part of the 'Tuning up' project working in prisons. 

He is a keen club cricketer and an avid Sunderland football fan. As of September 2023, he is the Head of Music Performance at King's Ely Prep School

(last updated 18th January 2024)

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