As a gifted young piano student, I benefited enormously from three things: incredibly supportive parents, inspired teachers, and just enough discipline to keep working hard. When I was very young, I studied with Edward Parker, who to this day is still a busy and respected teacher in Vancouver, B.C. “Uncle Edward” gave me the gift of technique and the belief that my work was worth it. My mother, Keiko Parker, listened to my practicing every day to ensure that I was sticking with the program, and taught me everything about music theory. I also worked briefly with Robin Wood at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Mr. Wood made the outrageous suggestion that there might be more than one right way to do something, and that I had the power to choose!
I graduated to Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music and later the University of British Columbia. Mr. Lee introduced me to a level of artistic detail I hadn’t ever experienced before, and he remains an inspiration to me. While at UBC I spent summers at the Banff School of Fine Arts and worked primarily with Marek Jablonski, a virtuoso of the old school, a unique human being, and an unparalleled performer of Chopin. I then went to The Juilliard School and studied with Adele Marcus. Miss Marcus taught me about tone, about the big picture, about the balance of proportion and freedom, and about how to walk onstage and make a very large black box appear to speak, and even sing. I can still hear her singing a Beethoven phrase in her New York apartment.
Many years later, here I am at the beautiful Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas, trying to pass on this wonderful legacy to a class of extraordinarily gifted young students. They all have different talents, different issues to work through, different backgrounds, and are drawn to different repertoire. What a joy it is to ‘shepherd’ them through this exciting time in their musical development. If you hear one of these remarkable young musicians perform, know that they have worked very, very hard to get to this stage.
I’ll post blogs about my students’ accomplishments here.
Jon Kimura Parker