Monday, 1st August 2022

National Youth Choirs of Great Britain today announces that, after a transformative decade, Ben Parry will be stepping down as Artistic Director at the end of this year. He will continue as Principal Conductor during 2023, the organisation’s 40th anniversary year. 

Under Ben’s creative leadership, alongside Chief Executive Anne Besford, NYCGB has grown to become a national community of excellence and inclusion, leading the way in music education and the choral sector. NYCGB is now firmly established as an important National Youth Music Organisation supported by the Department for Education and a National Portfolio Organisation for Arts Council England. 

Since 2012, the membership of NYCGB’s four national choirs, has more than doubled, now comprising more than 900 young singers aged between 9 and 25 from all regions of the country and from increasingly diverse backgrounds. Ben has led the way in developing an inspirational programme of training, development and performance opportunities at the highest-level that are life-changing for young people.  

Alongside the choirs, Ben has championed NYCGB’s work to open up access to singing, establishing the Learning and Engagement programme, which works in partnership with schools, music hubs and communities to introduce the benefits and joy of singing to an even wider range of young people, particularly those in areas with fewer opportunities. The programme has grown in recent years, now annually engaging with more than 3,500 participants.  

The Fellowship and Young Composers programmes, set up in 2015 and 2019, are recognised in the industry as leading training grounds that support the next generation of choral musicians, leaders and composers at the start of their careers, from a diversity of musical and cultural backgrounds. Graduates of these programmes have gone on to work across the music and education sectors.   

NYCGB has also developed its own recording label and digital platforms to showcase performances by the choirs to a wider audience. NYCGB’s digital releases now achieve more than a million streams annually. As a respected composer himself, Ben has actively developed a new music programme, including annual commissions for the choirs, seeking to redefine what choral music can be.  

During the pandemic, Ben and his colleagues ensured engagement continued, adapting swiftly and working remotely to deliver virtual training and recordings, collaborative sessions, masterclasses, online auditions and digital resources for NYCGB’s participants and audiences. 

Though he will remain a champion of NYCGB, Ben will be leaving to spend more time on his career as a sought after conductor, composer and producer, including being the director of London Voices, who perform at concert venues across the world and are in demand for recording projects including major film soundtracks. 

Ben Parry said:

Stepping down as Artistic Director of NYCGB has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career, but I feel it’s right to do it now. I have become increasingly busy with my other portfolio work and it’s time for someone else to lead NYCGB into the next phase of its glorious future. I shall continue to conduct the National Youth Choir in its 40th anniversary in 2023, so there is still much to celebrate. When the time comes to move on, I know that NYCGB will hold a very special place in my heart and I will continue to support it and the amazing young singers in any way I can.

David Roper, Chair of NYCGB, said:

Ben has made an enormous contribution to the National Youth Choirs over the last decade, and under his inspirational leadership we have become a truly world class community of choirs that has enhanced the lives of so many young people. On behalf of our members, past and present, and all at NYCGB, I’d like to express our heartfelt thanks to Ben for everything he has done for us and wish him all the very best for the future.

The process to recruit a new creative leader will begin in early September. Anyone interested in receiving details of the role and recruitment process when available, can contact [email protected]