CD REVIEW | 11.18.2014 | by John Terauds | Musical Toronto
Many a domestic fantasy at this time of year involves good company around a crackling fireside. The encircling gloom and chill cry out for a fine storyteller to keep the onset of winter at bay.
For some, the storyteller is a favourite video game. For others, a novel, or binge-watching a series on Netflix. But as the northwesterly wind has been getting ever more inhospitable, I’ve found evening solace in the arms – or, more accurately, the hands – of pianist Jon Kimura Parker.
The veteran virtuoso continues to climb high in his ongoing explorations of the toughest-to-scale peaks in the pianistic repertoire. Continue reading
Sometimes, when music lovers are very lucky, they get a performance like this one: the great Mendelssohn D Minor Piano Trio in a reading to take the breath away.
Augustin Hadelich (violin), Efe Baltacigil (cello), and pianist Jon Kimura Parker played the trio in a manner that literally gave the listeners nothing further to wish for. Warmly soulful, incredibly speedy, consistently inventive, and artful in every line, the Mendelssohn was so refined and nuanced that it made other versions seem somehow crude.
The first movement was taken at a speed possible only for a pianist like Parker, whose perfectly even arpeggios set the tone for the white-hot performance. Continue reading
REVIEW | 12.15.2013 | by Rob Hubbard | St. Paul Pioneer Press
Flamboyance is Eiji Oue’s calling card. If there’s one thing the former Minnesota Orchestra music director learned from his mentor, Leonard Bernstein, it’s to give the audience an exciting presence on the podium. His gestures are big, his body language invariably colorful.
Since his departure in 2003, the Minnesota Orchestra has gone on to become one of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras, this week earning its third “Best Orchestral Performance” Grammy nomination in seven years and its second consecutive. It bears remembering that many of the standout musicians in the orchestra were hired during Oue’s tenure. Alas, its musicians have been locked out for 14 months in a contract dispute and are now hanging out their own shingle by producing a concert series. Continue reading
In his first local concerts in a decade, former Minnesota Orchestra director Eiji Oue led the locked-out musicians and employed his vitality to deliver a dose of Christmas cheer.
In the good old days, before “locked-out” was routinely prefixed to “musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra,” that ensemble was central to the Twin Cities’ celebration of the winter holidays. During Eiji Oue’s tenure as music director (1995-2002), a typical December in Orchestra Hall boasted performances of “Messiah” and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — the latter a Japanese holiday custom, imported by the conductor — not to mention, on the pops side, Doc Severinsen’s cheery seasonal cocktail. Continue reading
International Musician | Cover Story | Jon Kimura Parker Travels the World Bringing Piano Concertos to Life
Jon Kimura Parker
By Cherie Yurco
As a concert pianist, Jon Kimura Parker of Local 145 (Vancouver, BC) travels to a different venue most every weekend, giving 60 or 70 concerts each year. He’s also professor of piano for Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Houston. We caught up with him when he was “commuting” between Houston and China for performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos No. 3 and No. 4.
“This is a very exciting tour; I’m playing as a soloist with the three most important orchestras in China—China Philharmonic in Beijing, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Guangzhou Symphony,” he says explaining why he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity, despite the fact that he was in mid-semester and preparing for a student concert in early December. So, he’s flying back and forth for weekend concerts on the other side of the world. Continue reading
REVIEW | 9.23.2012 | by James McQuillen | The Oregonian
The Oregon Symphony had pianist Jon Kimura Parker back in town to help kick off its subscription season over the weekend, and while Carlos Kalmar and the orchestra played gracious host to their guest while he was at the keyboard, they reserved a fair bit of the evening’s limelight for themselves.
A favorite of Portland audiences and a genial presence on stage, Parker offered a crystalline performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, with power and drama suited to the music’s minor mood and frequent… Continue reading
REVIEW | 7.03.2012 | by Melinda Bargreen | The Seattle Times
Outside the Nordstrom Recital Hall, it was cold and rainy.
Inside the hall, it was smoking hot — especially when James Ehnes and Jon Kimura Parker took the stage to play Bartok in this opening program of the 31st Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Summer Festival. The festival, which annually opens the week of the Fourth of July, is always a reliable source of fireworks (of the musical variety), but Monday evening’s opener was even more incendiary than usual.
Ehnes, the festival’s artistic director, and Parker, artistic adviser of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, are an ideal… Continue reading
REVIEW | 5.04.2012 | by James Chute | San Diego Union-Tribune
File this one under the category marked: nailed it.
San Diego Symphony music director Jahja Ling’s concept of formulating a program around rhapsodies proved to be both enlightening and entertaining, especially with piano soloist Jon Kimura Parker’s energetic contributions to Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
In a Masterworks program Friday at Copley Symphony Hall that also included Alfvén’s “Swedish Rhapsody No. 1” and Enesco’s “Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1,” Parker displayed a rare combination of exuberance and finesse.
When Rachmaninoff, in what is essentially a set of variations, demanded pure, unbridled virtuosity, as in the work’s double-fisted,… Continue reading
A John Harbison Sonata at Alice Tully Hall
REVIEW | 04. 27.12 | By Allan Kozinn | The New York Times
New-music fans who object when musical organizations present contemporary works in special concerts, where they won’t intrude on the classics — the New York Philharmonic’s Contact! series, or the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse concerts, for example — would have approved of the way the society presented John Harbison’s new Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano on Tuesday evening at Alice Tully Hall.
The work, which the society commissioned as part of a consortium, was given its world premiere at the concert by the violinist Cho-Liang Lin and the pianist Jon Kimura Parker, and it was surrounded by two staples of the Romantic canon: Beethoven’s Trio in E flat (Op. 1, No. 1), for which Mr. Lin and Mr. Parker were joined by the cellist Gary Hoffman, and Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor (Op. 60), with the violist Richard O’Neill filling out the ensemble. Continue reading
REVIEW | 3.05.2012 | By Holly Harris | Winnipeg Free Press
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra welcomed March not with a lamb, but with a formidable musical lion as it featured world-class Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker in its latest Masterworks concert, the aptly titled Parker Plays Brahms 2.
The highlight of Friday night’s concert, led by Alexander Mickelthwate, was the Vancouver-born artist performing Johannes Brahms’ Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 83. Continue reading