Parry, John

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Parry, John

Parry, John, Welsh instrumentalist, writer on music, and composer, known as “Bardd Alaw” (“master of song”); b. Denbigh, Feb. 18, 1776; d. London, April 8, 1851. He became a member (1793) and master (1795) of the Denbighshire militia band. In 1807 he settled in London, where he taught the flageolet; was made composer to Vauxhall Gardens (1809). He wrote various works for the stage (from 1814), and also appeared as a conductor of the Welsh cymrodorio and eisteddfodau in various locales for many years, being named Bardd Alaw at the Powys Eisteddfod (1820); likewise was music critic for the Morning Post (1834–49). His most successful stage work was the musical drama Ivanhoe or The Knight Templar (Covent Garden, London, March 2, 1820), which included the popular song “The Lullaby.” He also wrote incidental music, harp sonatas, part-songs, glees, songs, etc. He ed. a collection of Welsh music as The Welsh Harper (1839–48). His writings, all publ. in London, include II Puntello, or The Supporter (1832), An Account of the Rise and Progress of the Harp (1834), and An Account of the Royal Musical Festival Held in Westminster Abbey in 1834 (1834). His son, John Orlando Parry (b. London, Jan. 3, 1810; d. East Molesey, Surrey, Feb. 20, 1879), was a pianist and comic singer who studied harp with Bochsa and later voice with Lablache in Naples. After a successful career as a singer, he retired from the stage (1853), and was active as organist at St. Jude’s, Southsea, and as a teacher. He wrote glees and dances for piano.


C. Andrews and J. Orr-Ewing, Victorian Swands-down: Extracts from the Early Travel Diaries of J.O. P. (London, 1935).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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