I have added several of my pieces to the Soundcloud site, they are as heard on the Sibelius software. It would be great to hear any constructive comments you have.
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
Alan Parsons was born in 1931 in Watford, Hertfordshire, but has lived most of his life in
Essex. He grew
up in Brentwood, moved to Walton-on-the-Naze in 1967 and to Colchester
in 1979. After school and National Service in the RAF he took a bachelor’s
degree in music at Durham University and a post-graduate diploma in Education
at Goldsmiths’ College, London.
After teaching in various secondary schools Alan returned to Durham in the early 1970s to take a Master’s
degree, working with David Lumsdaine, specialising in twentieth century
Composition and Analysis.
Having done some part-time lecturing for the Extra-Mural Department of London University Alan became a freelance teacher and musician on moving to
Colchester. He continued to lecture on the Diploma course
when the Extra-Mural Department was taken over by .
For a time Alan taught composition at Birkbeck College Woodbridge
School in Suffolk as well as teaching privately. A
highlight of his week at this time was the four hours spent every Saturday
morning at the
at Colchester Institute where he remained for seventeen years. On retiring in
1996 Alan became a governor at Junior
Music School . Kendall
Composition has been a major interest since Alan was a teenager, and among his teachers, apart from David Lumsdaine, were Anthony Milner, Iain Hamilton and Justin Connolly. During the 1980s he made a detailed study of Stockhausen’s music, registering as a PhD student at Goldsmith’s College,
and working mainly with Hugh Davis.
In 1984, together with fellow composer Eric Hudes (see below), Alan set up the composers’ co-operative Colchester New Music. CNM gave regular concerts of mainly new music in collaboration with
Colchester Sixth Form College and Long Melford Music Society. The most lasting
collaboration was with Colchester Institute. Their annual New Music Days
featured such internationally well known groups as Gemini, the Composers’ Ensemble and New Noise. In the 1990s CNM
formed its own performing group, the Since Eric’ death in 2007 Alan has
co-operated with locally based composers Alan Bullard, Julia Usher and Stuart
Russell. Stuart took over as Director of CNM when Alan stepped down in 2013 and
has since been superseded by Julia Usher. Essex University
Most of Alan’s recent music consists of chamber music, some with voice, composed for ensembles performing at CNM concerts, but he has also written music for students and amateurs. His large-scale works include 4 Symphonies and 2 Violin Concertos, the first of which has been performed, in a version for violin and piano, by Beth Spendlove and Timothy Carey. There is also a 3-act chamber opera based on the biblical character Hosea.
Alan’s interest in Theology also goes back to his early years. His first experience of the Anglican Church was at
Thomas’s in Brentwood, where he
was a choir boy and acquired a love of organ playing. He attended St Thomas’ C of E Primary School before moving to a
selective school in Chelmsford.
On moving to Colchester Alan joined the congregation at the medieval church of St Leonard’s-at-the-Hythe, moving to St Stephen’s church in the New Town district of Colchester when St Leonard’s became a redundant church in 1983. Like
St Thomas’s in Brentwood, St Leonard’s was a very
high church, and until John and Christine Shillaker came to St Stephen’s in the
late 1980s Alan assumed that all Anglican churches were like this! Alan’s
understanding of what church life could be was taken further when Ian Hilton was
appointed to St Stephen’s in the early 2000s, and several stages further still when
Sister Nikki Foster-Kruczek of the Church Army was appointed to Source a Church of England community which
operates in the Hythe area of Colchester. However,
both theologically and politically Alan remains an Unrepentant Liberal. Alan
became a Reader (Lay Preacher) in 1988, having previously taken the Cambridge
Diploma in Religious Studies at the (then) Suffolk
College in Ipswich.
After becoming ‘emeritus’ in 2001 Alan continued as a church musician at St
Stephen’s until he stepped down for health reasons in January 2014. As well as
playing for services Alan organised concerts and played, often piano duets with
a friend, Caroline Hall, at church entertainments. Latterly Alan organised the
music for the annual Heritage Day at St Leonard’s
and in 2013 became Secretary, later Chair of a newly formed Friends of ’s. St Leonard
Alan married Doreen in 1956. They had two children, Brigitte and Clive, and Brigitte later had two girls Kerry and Sarah. Alan has been fortunate in that Clive and Brigitte have lived fairly near to
Colchester, Clive in Witham, Brigitte at
Walton-on-the-Naze. Sadly Doreen died at the age of fifty in 1985 after a long
Outside music and the Church Alan’s enthusiasms are for long country walks, railways and cricket. Alan’s idea of a holiday is to go chasing steam railways anywhere from the North Yorkshire Moors to
Devon. He is happiest
when listening to a radio commentary on a cricket test match while fiddling
with his beloved model railway.
AP April 2016