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September 1, 2003

TRANSITIONS

The Scotsman
Sept 1

When the founder of a music ensemble departs, the question arises: can it survive without its most prominent figurehead? That’s the worry facing the Dunedin Consort following the departure of Ben Parry, whose skills as a choral director are synonymous with the top-notch Edinburgh-based vocal ensemble.

After nearly a decade of building up a formidable reputation with his supreme team of vocalists - during which he also transformed the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus, as chorus director, into the homogenous and dynamic force it now is - Parry was headhunted earlier this year to become director of music at St Paul’s School in London.

He takes up the post this month. Parry wishes to maintain a link with the Dunedin, and will conduct its St Matthew Passion performances next April. But many in the music business sense he will be in such demand down south that his ability to find time to come north will rapidly diminish.

Under his guidance, the tight-knit ensemble - similar in lines to Harry Christophers’ The Sixteen, and to a large extent Glasgow’s Cappella Nova - has notched up world-class performances of challenging choral repertoire ranging from Elizabethan masses, motets and madrigals, to a performance at last year’s Edinburgh Festival of Stockhausen’s seminal masterpiece Stimmung, which delighted the composer on its radio broadcast.
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Posted by acapnews at September 1, 2003 9:53 AM

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