Parry Jones

Gwynn Jones (1917)

[Born Blaina, Monmouthshire 14 Feb 1891, died London 26 Dec 1963]

Tenor Gwynn Jones studied at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as in Weimar, Milan, and in London with John Coates.He made his debut in 1914 and shortly went on an opera and concert tour to the United States.He was returning to England aboard the R.M.S. Lusitania in May 1915 when the liner was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat.Nearly 1200 passengers and crew perished, but Jones was one of 761 survivors.He would later write an article, "On Board the Lusitania," about his experience.

After recovering from a nervous breakdown occasioned by his ordeal, Jones joined the D'Oyly Carte Repertory Opera Company in July 1917 and toured as principal tenor (playing Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore, Earl Tolloller in Iolanthe, Prince Hilarion in Princess Ida, and Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard) until November of that year.He then joined the Beecham Opera Company, and later was an original member of the British National Opera Company.It was around this time that he began using the name Parry Jones.

During a career that extended to 1954, Jones appeared in all the leading English festivals and that of the International Society of Contemporary Music (1938).He appeared with the Carl Rosa Opera Company, the Covent Garden Company, the Royal Philharmonic, the Liverpool Philharmonic and Royal Choral Societies, as well as at the BBC Symphony and Promenade concerts, and sang with Toscanini in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.His repertoire included opera, German leider, French and English songs, and contemporary music, and he sang in the first performances in England of Wozzeck, Gurrelieder, Doctor Faustus, Psalmus Hungaricus, Christopher Columbus, and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone