Conductor Andrew Parrott is perhaps best known for over 50 pioneering recordings (principally for EMI) of pre-classical repertoire – from Machaut to Handel with the London-based Taverner Consort, Choir and Players, which he founded in 1973. Parrott’s musical range is broad, and he works extensively with both period- and modern-instrument orchestras and with opera companies, in a huge range of repertoire.
Among the organizations that have repeatedly sought out Andrew Parrott as guest conductor is Toronto’s Opera Atelier, for which he has conducted productions of Lully’s Armide, Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride and Orphée, and Mozart’s Figaro, Magic Flute, Idomeneo and Don Giovanni, all with the period-instrument orchestra Tafelmusik. In the UK he recently conducted Cosi fan tutte for Opera North in a new production by Tim Albery. Other recent engagements include concerts and recordings of the complete piano concertos of Beethoven with Ronald Brautigam and the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra, and concerts in Bratislava, Trondheim, Lucerne and Israel.
In addition to co-editing the 700-page New Oxford Book of Carols (1992), Andrew Parrott has published several major articles on Monteverdi, Purcell and Bach, and a book, The Essential Bach Choir (2000; German translation 2003). A further long-awaited book is inching towards completion.
In 2002 Andrew Parrott was appointed Musical Director of the period-instrument New York Collegium, with whom he presented ground-breaking programs of baroque music – from Giovanni Gabrieli to Rameau. He has also held the post of Music Director and Principal Conductor of the London Mozart Players, where he explored the classical repertoire in particular. Programs frequently featured dramatic music with narration by distinguished actors, which led to the commissioning of Jonathan Dove’s The Crocodiamond, a children’s work for orchestra and narrator, premièred with actor Simon Callow.
Contemporary music has always played an important part in Andrew Parrott’s musical life and for several years he was an assistant to Sir Michael Tippett. He conducted the world première of Judith Weir’s A Night at the Chinese Opera (which he later recorded with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra) and has made CDs of new music by other British composers (including John Tavener), by Vladimír Godár (with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra) and by Arvo Pärt. His most recent recording is with the Taverner Choir: Requiem: Songs in Memory and Beslan by the British composer Nick Bicât.
“The New York Collegium clearly made the right decision in appointing Andrew Parrott its music director: Friday’s performance of Bach’s St. John Passion…was consistently fluent, finely beautiful and movingly expressive.”
New York Times
“Parrott wrote the book on Bach’s chorus, or at least an influential one, “The Essential Bach Choir”…. Parrott, who has had broad experience working with substantial choruses, knew precisely what to do, drawing a rich, full-bodied sound from the singers. His allocation of vocal solos to the choristers was clearly a matter of spreading the wealth rather than submitting to any academic constraint”
New York Times
Spreading the Wealth for a Full-Bodied Bach
New York Times