Following a 25-year career centred on St Albans Cathedral, Andrew Parnell (organist) has, since 2001, enjoyed a freelance life as conductor, organist, and composer.
As an organist, Andrew maintains strong links with cathedral music, and, having helped out as Acting Assistant Organist at nine cathedrals, he has joined the staff at Ely Cathedral as Assistant Director of the Octagon Singers. Andrew is frequently invited to play as soloist or accompanist, recently appearing in Rochester Cathedral, St Albans Abbey, St Andrew’s Hall Norwich, and Guernsey. He thoroughly enjoys his association with The Really Big Chorus, for whom he played the main organ in both the Scratch® Youth Messiah and Messiah from Scratch® at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2016, and with whom he is also travelling to Mallorca and Riga in 2017.
In addition to Ely Choral Society and its Youth Choir (members of which joined 1,500 other young singers in the Scratch® Youth Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall last November), Andrew conducts Wymondham Symphony Orchestra. He was recently invited by Prime Brass (the Cambridge-based semi-professional ensemble) to conduct a Brass and Organ Spectacular in St Albans Abbey. He also runs workshops for choirs of all shapes, sizes and age-groups.
Andrew’s compositions, both sacred and secular, have been performed in venues as widespread as St Paul’s Cathedral, St Thomas’ 5th Avenue, St Petersburg and Krakow. In 2016, two commissioned choral works were premiered in Tewkesbury Abbey (Musica Deo Sacra festival) and St George’s Bloomsbury (for the new London-based ladies choir Gloriana). He is currently working on a commission for a Fenland-based work for chorus and orchestra to be premièred in Ely Cathedral in July 2017.