Jon Kimura Parker
Since winning Great Britain's Leeds International Piano Competition in 1984, Jon Kimura Parker has become one of the most sought-after artists in his native Canada, as well as throughout Europe, the United States and the Far East. Whether performing as recitalist, soloist with orchestra or chamber musician, he has won unanimous praise for his brilliant technique, exquisite tone and thoughtful musicality.
Mr. Parker's career has already encompassed performances with many of the world's leading conductors and orchestras, among them Andre Previn and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Leonard Slatkin and the San Francisco Symphony, Christoph von Dohnanyi and the Cleveland Orchestra, Klaus Tennstedt and the London Symphony Orchestra, Gunther Herbig and the RSO Berlin, Pinchas Zukerman and the Dallas Symphony, Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony, Christopher Hogwood and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Roger Norrington and the Orchestra of St. Luke's on its Carnegie Hall series. His recital and chamber music appearances have taken him to such festivals as Aldeburgh, Bergen, Edinburgh, Tivoli, Ravinia, Blossom, Mostly Mozart and the Minnesota Sommerfest, and have included performances on the most prestigious series at London's South Bank, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, New York's Avery Fisher Hall and Washington's Kennedy Center. He has traveled regularly to the Far East, at the invitation of such ensembles as Tokyo's NHK Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He also made an extensive Pacific Rim tour as soloist with the Toronto Symphony under Gunther Herbig, and has toured Europe with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In the United States, he has been soloist for tours with England's Halle Orchestra and Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra.
During the summer of 1996 Mr. Parker made appearances at Chicago's Grant Park Festival under Hugh Wolff and the San Luis Obispo Festival, where he performed with the festival orchestra, the Brentano String Quartet and Jeffrey Kahane (in a duo piano recital). In August he made a three-week tour of Australia, performing with orchestras in Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart and Perth, and gave a solo recital in Sydney.
His schedule for 1996-97 was highlighted by a 13-city tour of the US with the Warsaw Philharmonic with Kazimierz Kord, with performances in Carnegie Hall and in Orchestra Hall, Chicago. Mr. Parker also returns to the orchestras of Calgary, Dallas, Houston, Quebec, Toronto and Vancouver, as well as Madrid, Spain, for performances with the Spanish Radio and Television Orchestra. Last season his European engagements included concerts with the Bergen Philharmonic, the Bournemouth Symphony, the Scottish National Orchestra, and a recital in London on the International Piano Series.
Mr. Parker has made four highly praised recordings for Telarc. His debut on that label, with the Royal Philharmonic under Andre Previn's direction, pairs Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in b-flat minor and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3. He subsequently released a Chopin recital featuring the Sonata No. 2 in b-flat minor, Op. 35. He also joined Peter Schickele for the first recording of the Concerto for Two Pianos vs. Orchestra by the fabled composer P.D.Q. Bach. In February 97 the Barber Piano Concerto was released, with Yoel Levi and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, also featuring Robert McDuffie in Barber's Violin Concerto and the orchestral version of Souvenirs.
The recipient of many international awards, Mr. Parker has been honored repeatedly in his native Canada, most recently as the 1996 recipient of the prestigious Governor General's National Arts Centre Award. He is a founding member of Piano Six, a group dedicated to bringing music to smaller communities throughout Canada. In 1991 he was invited by then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to give a televised solo recital to officially open the new Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. He has also given two command performances for Queen Elizabeth II with the orchestras of Calgary and Toronto.
In December 1995, Mr. Parker traveled to Bosnia for special concerts on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day with the Sarajevo Philharmonic, performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto #5 ("Emperor"). The New Year's Eve concert was televised live in 59 countries worldwide, and was covered by CNN and SkyTV. The appearance took place under the auspices of AmeriCares, and Mr. Parker accompanied a humanitarian airlift of food and medical supplies into Bosnia. Mr. Parker's dramatic trip and performances are highlighted in a PBS "Visionaries" documentary about AmeriCares.
A well-known personality in Canada, Mr. Parker has been featured on many radio and television programs for the CBC and has served as guest host of CBC-FM's "Arts National". He was recently the subject of an hourlong documentary on "Adrienne Clarkson Presents" and has appeared on the Disney Channel in the children's program "Under the Umbrella Tree". An enthusiastic advocate of new music, he has commissioned several works for piano by Canadian composers and has written a major recital work himself.
Born in Vancouver, Jon Kimura Parker appeared with the Vancouver Youth Orchestra at the age of five. He began his training with his uncle, Edward Parker, and also studied with Robin Wood at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and with Marek Jablonski at the Banff Centre for the Arts. After four years of advanced study with Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music and at the University of British Columbia, he was admitted to The Juilliard School on full scholarship as a student of the renowned piano pedagogue Adele Marcus.