Mourning for Nancianne, 83

Mourning for Nancianne, 83


norman lebrecht

June 05, 2019

Friends are sharing sadness at the death of Nancianne Parrella, an inspirational chorus teacher and long-serving organist at Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City.

Sought after by many US orchestras, Nancianne played with the New York Philharmonic in Lorin Maazel’s farewell concerts, having also worked with Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Zdenek Macal, Neeme Järvi and Louis Langreé.

She was a faculty member of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, NJ.

Nancianne suffered a stroke on Monday. She was 83.



  • MWnyc says:

    Heads-up, Norman:
    Nancianne was the organist at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City, not Cincinnati.

    St. Ignatius Loyola, in addition to being a wealthy Park Avenue parish (it was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s home church), is in very regular use as a concert venue, and I have heard many a terrific concert there.

    Oh, and her last name has two rs in it – Parrella.

    • norman lebrecht says:


      • MWnyc says:

        Pas de quoi!
        I wondered where you had gotten that, but I see that she moved to Cincinnati when she retired for good from St. Ig a few years ago; I’d suppose she had family there.

        I was trying to remember why I had known about her for so long — now I recall that it’s because she performed regularly at Spoleto USA from the festival’s earliest years.

  • Kirin Nielsen says:

    Nancianne Parrella was a remarkable virtuoso organist, and an excellent pianist, harpsichordist, and great teacher. Yet she did not have a big ego, and was kind, sincerely interested in other people, gentle with a strong core, and a generous teacher. She collaborated with the great conductors known for their exceptional work with choirs: Bill Trego at Princeton High School (where they directed one of the most celebrated choral programs in the country), Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College in Princeton (where she was on the faculty as part of the historically renowned choral department), and Robert Shaw during the summers in Princeton and France. I was fortunate to sing at Princeton High School every day for four years under the benevolent direction of Bill and Nancianne. These years set me on the trajectory of earning a master’s degree at Westminster and a doctorate in conducting at U of Illinois. They helped me to become the person I am now.
    There is a great deal more of her accomplishments to recount, including the Spoleto Festival in Charleston and the amazing Bach cantata series at Trinity Lutheran church. Her teaching and playing and genuine caring for others make her one of the greats.