Our Artistic Director
Chris Parsons is a trumpeter, conductor, teacher and community musician based in the UK. He read Music at the University of York before completing a Masters in Historical Performance Practice at the Royal College of Music in 2014. He now leads a professional career as a Trumpeter and Conductor, and has performed across the UK and Europe including tours in Germany, Denmark and Estonia. His time at York culminated in being awarded the University of York Concerto Competition prize, for which he performed Telemann’s Trumpet Concerto with the University Baroque Ensemble.
As a Trumpeter, he has performed across the UK and Europe, both as a soloist and as an orchestra player, including with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, International Baroque Players, Les Violons du Roy and Oxford Baroque. As a modern trumpet player, he has appeared with the Brandenburg Sinfonia and Ukrainian National Opera (UK Tour). Chris has performed in prestigious venues and festivals such as St John’s Smith Square, London and the Palace of Versailles. He performed as part of the BBC Proms live on BBC Radio 3 and as an orchestral trumpeter in the London Handel Festival. He has been fortunate enough to work with conductors including Sir Roger Norrington and Laurence Cummings.
As a specialist baroque conductor he has directed a number of major works including operas and oratorios by Handel (Semele, Acis and Galatea, Messiah, Samson), Purcell (The Fairy Queen, King Arthur, Dido and Aeneas) and many works by Bach, Vivaldi and lesser known English contemporaries of Purcell and Handel.
He conducts all eras of music and has directed many major orchestral and choral works. These include Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Symphonies by Haydn, Schubert and Arriaga, Mozart’s Requiem and new commissions by the composers David Sims and Nils Greenhow.
He is passionate about community music and directs a number of community based ensembles. These include Bury St Edmunds Friendly Orchestra, Thetford Singers and Newmarket Chamber Orchestra. He firmly believes in making classical music accessible and engaging to all. A career highlight to date was conducting ‘A Night at the Movies’ in Ely Cathedral in July 2019 which featured over 200 primary school children singing with an accompanying orchestra of over 60 musicians.
Chris works regularly with his own professional baroque ensemble, Eboracum Baroque described by the Guardian as 'stylish choral singers' and by Classic FM as 'Spectacular'. They have toured across Europe and give concerts at numerous National Trust properties across the UK. Highlights include Messiahs in Cambridge and Germany as well as a live broadcast of Bach’s Magnificat on Estonian National Radio. They regularly perform large scale works by Handel and Bach right through to chamber concerts across the UK.
They run an active education programme with concerts including with the Horrible Histories author, Terry Deary. Recent education projects have featured Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with ‘The Story Orchestra: Four Seasons in One Day’ This has toured the UK and has worked with a number of music hubs and at festivals including the Edinburgh Book Festival. Eboracum are working in collaboration with the National Centre for Early Music in 2021 performing these workshops across Yorkshire. Chris regularly delivers singing and general musical workshops in schools across the UK.
Chris is delighted to be the Chair and Artistic Director of Ely Arts Festival from 2021 onwards. Away from music he is an avid Sunderland AFC fan and keen club cricketer.