Past Conductors

Guy Turner

Guy Turner studied Music at Cambridge, where he sang in Clare Choir under John Rutter, and founded the St Michael’s Singers.

He was a music teacher for thirty-one years, in Surrey Comprehensives, a Somerset Further Education College, and latterly in the private sector. During this time he also conducted the Tudor Singers (with whom he appeared on TV and Radio), Egham and District Choral Society, and Surrey Heath Youth Orchestra. He assisted with the foundation of Surrey County Youth Choir and then in 1992 founded the Somerset County Youth Choir. He sang in the choir of St John the Baptist, Yeovil for ten years before seven years as the church’s musical director.

In 2008 he moved to Nottinghamshire to take up a post singing in the Cathedral Choir at Southwell Minster, where he remains. In 2010 he left teaching and now pursues a freelance career as the conductor of Bingham and District Choral Society and the assistant conductor of The Cecilian Singers of Leicester, archivist of the Eric Thiman Collection, and a question setter and verifier for TV quizzes. He also teaches theory and composition, plays piano in restaurants and is one of the founders of the nationally acclaimed Southwell Music Festival. He is occasionally allowed out into the community to perform Comic Songs.

He is also a composer known for his choral works (including Under the Wide Sky, performed by Stamford Choral in 2017, and a Requiem) and for his shorter choral pieces – carols, arrangements, and lighter numbers such as the famous Tequila Samba and Over the Rainbow.

Recently he has stood in as conductor for both Broom Leas Choral Society and Stamford Choral Society (with whom he conducted the St John Passion in De Montford Hall).

The Principal Conductor was Richard Laing who started 2015-16 season.

Richard enjoys the rare distinction of having been invited back to conduct again every ensemble with whom he has ever performed. He is Music Director of the Nottingham Harmonic Choir, Leicester Bach Choir, Midland Sinfonia, and the Bach Camerata; Artistic Director of the Leamington Chamber Orchestra; Principal Guest Conductor of Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and Associate Conductor of Chandos Symphony Orchesta. Richard was the first Conducting Scholar at Birmingham Conservatoire, where after just nine months of study he was awarded his Masters Degree, a Postgraduate Diploma, and the Postgraduate Prize for the most outstanding contribution to the musical life of the college. Immediately thereafter he was appointed to the post of Associate Conductor with the virtuoso young ensemble Sinfonia Cymru.

Richard's operatic work has included performances with Dartington Festival Opera, Birmingham Conservatoire, Operamus, Kent Opera and Pigotts. He has collaborated with principal players from a dozen of Europe and America's greatest orchestras, and has a close working relationship with some of the brightest young stars of the classical music world. He has worked with a diverse range of cross-over artists, including Alfie Boe, Tim Minchin and Radio 1 DJ Bobby Friction.

As a Chorus Master Richard regularly prepares choirs for orchestras such as the Halle, the Rinaldo Consort, Sinfona ViVA and the National Children's Orchestra, for conductors such as Cristian Mandeal and Sir Mark Elder; future work includes choral preparation of Carmina Burana for the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Andrew Parnell moved on end of 2015 season

Until 2001, Andrew Parnell’s professional career was centred on St Albans. At the cathedral, he was Assistant Master of the Music and Founder/Director of the Abbey Girls Choir. He was also Music Master and Choral Director at St Albans School, and Conductor of the St Albans Symphony Orchestra. Then he relinquished these posts to establish a freelance career as an organist, composer, and conductor.

Andrew has retained strong links with cathedral music, as Acting Assistant Organist at the Cathedrals in Ely, Canterbury, Wakefield and Southwell, and as acting Director of Music at Ely in 2006. He worked at Canterbury for a third stint in 2008, which included the Lambeth Conference. Andrew continues to be offered engagements here and abroad as organ soloist or accompanist, recently appearing with choirs in Cambridge, St Albans, Guildford, Orpington and Bath Abbey and as solo recitalist in St Albans Abbey and St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich.

His compositions, both sacred and secular, have been performed in the UK and abroad. Recent projects include Variations on ‘Ave maris stella’ for organ, Duo-concerto for Cor Anglais, Clarinet and Strings, a saints’ day anthem for Blackburn Cathedral, a major work for Cambridgeshire Choral Society, premiered in King’s College Chapel in February 2010, and Variations on ‘The Green Bushes’ commissioned by the Cambridge Clarinet Choir.

Andrew conducts the Cambridgeshire and the Ely Choral Societies, the Wymondham Symphony Orchestra, and, annually, the St Albans–based chamber choir Carillon. A recent joy has been to establish and guide the new Ely Youth Choir. 2010’s events ranged from Peace Child Alpha Omega, David Gordon’s contemporary musical/oratorio, to Dvořák’s 6th Symphony, to Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality.

Past Conductors

Sir David Willcocks CBE MC

Sir Philip Ledger CBE

Timothy Brown

Paul Trepte

Sir Stephen Cleobury CBE

James Thomas