David Parry


"the musical performance under David Parry sweeps more or less everything before it"

Andrew Clements, The Guardian

"David Parry conducts with energy and elegance"

Robert Thicknesse, The Times

"David Parry conducted with exemplary sense of style"

Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph

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David Parry is acknowledged as an inspirational champion of operatic, concert and symphonic repertoire across a vast range. He is known both for the re-appraisal of important lesser-known compositions and for a consistently fresh approach to established repertoire. 

Engagements in the 2023/2024 season include the UK premiere of Marx in London! with Scottish Opera, Lucrezia Borgia in Mannheim as well as an opera gala concert with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Significant credits include the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio (in separate productions for Opera North and Staatstheater Stuttgart), Der Fliegende Holländer (for Portland Opera), Madama Butterfly (in Anthony Minghella’s production for ENO which earned him an Olivier Award), Cosí fan tutte and the premiere of Dove’s Flight (both for Glyndebourne Festival Opera) and Maria Stuarda (for Stockholm Royal Opera).

David Parry made his operatic debut with La Cenerentola for English Music Theatre and subsequently joined the conducting staff first at Dortmund then at Opera North. He was Music Director of Opera 80, and founding Music Director of Almeida Opera, with whom he gave the world premieres of works by Nigel Osborne, Kevin Volans, Elena Firsova, and Param Vir. Other significant world-premieres have included Stephen Oliver's Mario and the Magician at the Batignano Festival, and Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel in 2006 and his oratorio There was a Child at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in 2009.

Photographer credit: Marco Borrelli

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Marx in London!

Scottish Opera, February 2024

Conductor David Parry, returning to the work after Bonn, drew a vividly colourful performance from the orchestra, driving rhythms, circular minimalist sequences and triumphant brass.

David Smythe, Bachtrack

Across it all, conductor David Parry and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera are in immaculate form in the pit, precision details in the percussion, sparkling wind and brass and terrific ensemble in the strings.

Keith Bruce, The Guardian

David Parry, who also conducted the Bonn premiere, shapes the score with clarity, and orchestra and chorus give their all.

Simon Thompson, The Times

Conductor David Parry and the orchestra captured the energetic momentum of the score with brilliance and precision

Susan Nickalls,Opera Now

Under the baton of frequent interpreter David Parry, [Dove's score] sounds superb.

Fergus Morgan, Financial Times

Scottish Opera’s orchestra delivers the score vividly under conductor David Parry’s supple direction.

David Kettle, The Stage

Marx in London! has a pacey, exuberant score and under David Parry the orchestra fizzed

Richard Bratby, The Spectator

Robinson Crusoe

West Green Ham Opera, February 2023

The opera was sung in a highly skillful English translation by David Parry, who also conducted the excellent Orpheus Sinfonia.

Sam Smith, MusicOMH

The extended thirty-eight piece Orpheus Sinfonia, under the scintillating baton of David Parry, brings out the sheer vivaciousness of the score.

Mark Aspen

La cenerentola

The Grange Festival, July 2021

In the pit, David Parry's speeds took no prisoners and he skillfully managed the tricky task of co-ordinating stage and recording in the vivid ensembles in a natural manner, whilst almost making us forget that it was a recording. His accompaniment of the recitatives was always imaginative and kept the pace of the drama moving at just the right tempo. Parry also contributed the intelligently witty surtitles.

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (4.5 stars)

... with such a spirited Rossini conductor as David Parry in charge.

George Hall, The Stage (5 stars)

Happily, the festival has hit the operatic bull’s-eye with Stephen Barlow’s dazzling staging of Rossini’s greatest comedy, La Cenerentola (Cinderella), meticulously conducted with rhythmic flair and genuine Italianità by one of the UK’s most experienced Rossinians, David Parry. It’s a gem of a show, delivered by a true ensemble cast who, thanks to Barlow and Parry, work together like clockwork in Rossini’s masterly concerted numbers.

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times

Hansel and Gretel

Scottish Opera, February 2021

The score is expertly played and lovingly conducted by David Parry who conveys the expressive potential of every note

George Hall, The Stage, 10 February 2021

Conductor David Parry excels in the pacing of the children’s growing panic in the woods and its easing into the lyric consolation of the Sandman’s song

David Nice, The Arts Desk, 12 February 2021

Clark’s arrangement makes the most of the score and conductor David Parry and the orchestra perform it superbly

Keith Bruce, VoxCarnyx, 10 February 2021

David Parry conducts with all the steadiness and security that you would expect from someone of his experience

Simon Thompson, Bachtrack, 10 February 2021

David Parry's pacing of a slimmed down version of Humperdinck’s score preserved its Romantic warmth and radiant contouring

Opera Magazine, April 2021

Il barbiere di Siviglia

Theater Basel (October 2019)

Musically, the standards of this production in Basel are high to very high. Conductor David Parry (previously seen in Basel with “Finta Giardiniera” and “Maria Stuarda”) always manages to combine the lightness, which is so important in Rossini’s [operas] with the necessary sense of rhythm. The Sinfonieorchester Basel masters his occasionally very fast tempi brilliantly.

Reinmar Wagner, Aargauer Zeitung

Conductor David Parry, who accompanies the recitatives himself from the fortepiano in an inspired way, chooses speedy tempi, which do not trouble the orchestra. The few quiet moments, too, the Briton realises with great sensitivity.

Georg Rudiger, Der Sonntag

Every detail of [the production] makes sense. It puts the staging on the same level as Rossini’s music: conductor David Parry and the Sinfonieorchester Basel, situated on the stage, reveal the music’s depth uncompromisingly – they sugarcoat nothing and yet play so beautifully. Just like the scenic realisation, the musical one shows how strikingly close this comedy is to tragedy. When music teacher Basilio spells out the devastating effects of slander (accompanied by video footage of refugees and asylum seekers), the strings wheeze in turn – wonderful! … In short: musically this evening is a gift from heaven.

Alexander Dick, Badische Zeitung

The audience at the premieres celebrate both productions. That is not least due to their compelling musical standards... the Sinfonieorchester Basel under David Parry ... handle the tempi-packed score splendidly.


David Parry is a very experienced conductor and, with the Sinfonieorchester Basel, offered a buoyant performance of this glorious music, which he has carved out to the finest detail.

Marco Stücklin, Opernmagazin

Wolf-Ferrari Il segreto di Susanna & Mascagni Zanetto

Scottish Opera, Lammermuir Festival (September 2019)

Conductor David Parry and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera brought the score to life with energy and enthusiasm.

Rowena Smith, The Guardian

David Parry conducted both scores as though they deserved the same conviction that others would bring to Verdi or Puccini. The orchestra responded to him beautifully, and the blend in the church acoustic was remarkably successful.

Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard International

The Scottish Opera Orchestra [played] with impulsive sweep under the heaving baton of David Parry.

Ken Walton, The Scotsman

The rich orchestration was given a vigorous performance by the large orchestra under conductor David Parry.

Keith Bruce, The Herald Scotland

David Parry conducts the orchestra of Scottish Opera with an appropriately fluid pace throughout.

Thom Dibdin, The Stage

Vaughan Williams: The Pilgrim’s Progress

Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester (March 2019)

From the moment the quiet brass hymn-tune emerged from the pit, it was clear that David Parry had a true understanding of the work. His conducting was by turns highly dramatic and sensitive, spacious where necessary but always moving forwards, and with clear cues that gave his young singers maximum confidence. Parry’s account was both luminous and purposeful, underlining the work’s dramatic intentions.

Nigel Simeone, Opera Magazine

Mendelssohn, Chopin and Elgar with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Festival Hall (February 2019)

[Parry] was on fine form here. … Parry pressed the [Mendelssohn] forward, capturing dramatic urgency but allowing the moods to shift without sounding hurried. … Benelli Mosell’s lyrical playing was well-matched by the sensitive texturing that Parry drew from the LPO. The main virtue of Parry’s approach to the Elgar was in his avoidance of anything approaching bombast; energetic, yes, there was plenty of vim from the opening bars, but as with the Chopin, there was a sense of lyricism to the LPO’s performance. The Larghetto can run the risk of sounding overly melancholy, but Parry gave us something more nuanced that eschewed the vulgar in favour of a calmer contemplation, epitomised by the depth of the oboe-playing. If the second movement was subdued, the third lacked none of the virtuosity that a good performance requires, the fluttering of the woodwind giving way to splendidly robust brass, the string colour beneath a rich gold. Perhaps best, though, were the dying strains of the finale; the richness of the horns and the precision of the strings standing out as the music ebbed away. It was a studied interpretation, but one that benefited from the detail and texture that Parry gave it.

Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack ****

Dove: Marx in London (World Premiere)

Theater Bonn (Dec 2018)

There is much richly challenging writing for the orchestra under the excellent David Parry.

Martin Kettle, The Guardian ****

The Beethoven-Orchester Bonn plays all this competently and transparently under the taut direction of David Parry.

Alexander Menden, Süddeutsche Zeitung

The zappy conversational tone of the piece is mixed up with more lyrical passages. The Beethoven-Orchester and the choir realise this excellently under the direction of Davie Parry.

Stefan Schmöe, Online Musik Magazin

The Londoner composer’s music is played virtuosically by the Beethoven Orchester under David Parry; it is brilliant, witty and eclectic in a good way and moves elegantly between Stravinsky, Britten and the composers of American minimalism.

Bernhard Hartmann, Generalanzeiger Bonn

The Beethoven Orchester Bonn under David Parry throws itself into proceedings and takes sumptuous pleasure in the sound; the choir sings magnificently.

Peter Krause, Concerti

“On the podium David Parry evinced great affection for the partitura and there was marked deference to the singers in keeping the orchestral decibels as restrained as possible. That said, there was plenty of roof-raising raucousness when required.”

Jonathan Sutherland, Operawire


Nederlandse Reisopera (October 2018)

It is because of ... the musical standard of this performance that it is rated with four stars in this review: The Orkest van het Oosten plays a great Puccini under the guidance of veteran David Parry: blazing where it should be, tender where it can. Parry knows how he needs to support his singers.

Peter van der Lint, Trouw ****

Under the direction of David Parry, the Orkest van het Oosten gives a sultry, rhythmically fine, well-done interpretation.

Persis Bekkering, Volkskrant

The Orkest van het Oosten, the stars of the evening, conducted by David Parry, developed a sound that was almost too perfect, and got the most out of all aspects of Puccini’s score. The solo passages were a treat and the accompaniment of the soloists could teach the big name orchestras a thing or two. No, the singers or the orchestra were not to blame…

Olivier Keegel, Opera Gazet ****

In Puccini's Tosca, a large part of the musical drama lies in the orchestra. You hear the aggressively teasing opening chords and you know: there will be trouble. Under the direction of conductor David Parry, the Orkest van het Oosten allows the tension that goes under your skin to become fierce with sharply drawn rhythmic motifs, virulent brass, impending percussion and smoky low wood.

Joep Christenhusz, NRC ****

Parry creates beautiful dramatic moments, often through quietness and delaying.

Jordi Kooiman, Place de l’Opera

David Parry’s Repertoire and Discography



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