The Accompanists’ Guild of South Australia has offered a scholarship each year from 1984 for a gifted accompanist, and in 1996 they changed the name to the Geoffrey Parsons Award after Geoffrey’s untimely death at the beginning of 1995. (It’s a funny expression an ‘untimely death’ suggesting there are other deaths that are right on schedule).
Geoffrey was superb in the art of accompaniment. I’m proud to say that I studied with him in London and we became good friends. I was drawn into his musical circle like a small moon around Saturn. He was an interesting mixture of a big ego layered with self-effacement. The problem with accompanists is that they are only ever as good as the singers or instrumentalists they are accompanying, and Geoffrey as the pre-eminent English accompanist (of course, born in Australia) got to work with the best, so in turn he was the best too. Victoria de los Ángeles,
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Jessye Norman, Barbara Bonney and a long association with Dame Janet Baker. They liked working with him because he was easy to work with, there was a charm to him, apart from his...