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Gwyn Parry-Jones

Gwyn Parry-Jones is currently Head of Music Activities at the University of Reading, and has been Musical Director of the University Choral Society since 1996. Works that he has performed with them in that time include Mozart’s Requiem, Poulenc’s Litanies de la Vierge Noire, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Haydn’s Harmony Mass, Gorecki’s Totus Tuus, P?’s Credo, and many more.

He was born in Cardiff, and studied piano, bassoon and composition (with Alun Hoddinott), before going on to Manchester, where he read music concurrently at the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music, emerging with MusB, GRSM, ARMCM and PGCE. While still studying, he made free-lance appearances with several major orchestras, including Barbirolli’s final recording session with the Hall?rchestra (music by Delius). At this time, he also taught at Chethams Specialist Music School and the Junior Department of the RNCM.

A period as Assistant Director of Music at Millfield School in Somerset was followed by a return to Manchester working as an orchestral musician. He played with the Hall?rchestra, the BBC Philharmonic and the Liverpool Philharmonic, among others, and also toured widely as a performer, including visits to the Far East and to Spain and the Balearic Islands. At this time, he was also a member of the BBC Northern Singers and conductor of the Melandra Ensemble.

In 1980, he moved into Higher Education as Senior Lecturer at Bulmershe College in Reading, then in 1988 on to Reading University, where he heads the music specialist degree course in the School of Education and is Director of Music Activities. He has built up a considerable reputation as a conductor of both choirs and orchestras, and is also well known as an adjudicator. This year, he will again be Chair of the panel in the National Festival of Youth Orchestras at the Royal Festival Hall.

Gwyn has directed a number of music courses, including the Keele University International Chamber Music Summer School and The Chamber Music Course at the Queen’s College Oxford. He has also been a visiting lecturer in music at Oxford University and Gothenberg University, Sweden.

He was a founding member of the quintet The Five Winds, and now makes occasional appearances with the light music quartet ZigZag. Composing is a special interest, too, and he has a growing number of published works, mostly for wind instruments or voices. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in 1999.

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