JKP Blog Posts

It’s here and on iTunes! Jon Kimura Parker | Rite

Now available on iTunes, CD Baby, and at concert venues!

Jon Kimura Parker celebrates the centenary of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and the tragic story of Petrouchka, with his own blazing new transcriptions

To download on iTunes: enter “Jon Kimura Parker Rite” in search window, or click here to purchase on CD Baby!

New York, NY – April 9, 2013 – On April 9, 2013, pianist Jon Kimura Parker will release a recording of his fierce new transcription of The Rite of Spring – in time for the work’s centenary in May – coupled with his transcription of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka on his first new solo album in a decade.

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Orcas Island – Multiple Destinations

Jon Kimura Parker and Jamie Parker, percussionists?             – photos by Derk Jager

We need to have a quiet talk about pianists and their closet desires to be percussionists. In fact, we already are: by any rational definition, the piano is a percussion instrument – we hit a key, which in turn causes a hammer to hit a string, and sound is produced. But most pianists spend their entire professional lives trying not to make a piano sound like a percussion instrument. Our greatest inspiration in this endeavor is Chopin, whose music invites an approach more akin to singing.

But every once in awhile, the urge to be percussive takes over. My colleague, the great artist Emanuel Ax, took tympani lessons which culminated in a cameo performance in a Beethoven Overture with the Toronto Symphony. My approach is less subtle: I just work in percussion instruments whenever they’re handy. Continue reading

Orcas Island – Children and Archdukes

The Gryphon Trio - Annalee Patipatanakoon, Jamie Parker, Roman Borys -photo by Derk Jager

Program 2 of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival – “The Archduke” – featured two trios, the romantic Spanish-flavored Trio of Joaquin Turina, and the weighty gravitas of Beethoven’s mighty Archduke Trio. With the presence of the Gryphon trio, Artistic Director Aloysia Friedmann had the choice of who should play what… and wisely chose first to invite Chee-Yun, Desmond Hoebig and I to play the Turina, a work where last-minute rehearsals, a sense of urgency, and a willingness to indulge each other’s spontaneity complemented the music exactly as it was written. Continue reading

Orcas Island – A Poet’s Love

Season 14 of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival has begun!

Aloysia Friedmann opening Season 14.

A Poet’s Love took its audience on a musical journey so extraordinary that when I polled concertgoers at the post-concert reception and asked “So, what traditional element of a chamber music festival concert was missing?!” nobody came up with the answer. (More on that later.) Continue reading

Gypsy Music@Menlo

So what is Gypsy Music? What is Hungarian folk music? How do we even know a folk tune is a folk tune? Why is it called the “Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5” when it’s not written by Brahms? These are some of the questions that Music@Menlo asked this week in its program Alla Zingarese.

Composer/broadcaster/speaker extraordinaire Bruce Adolphe surveyed these questions with dizzying intensity in a 2-hour encounter last Wednesday, and this past weekend I’ve participated in the musical response, in everything from Haydn’s Gypsy Rondo trio to Hungarian Dances of Brahms, Slavonic Dances of Dvorak, and the glorious C Major Trio of Brahms.

Honestly, though, violist Paul Neubauer stole the show (yes, that’s right, I did just say… Continue reading

Making Music@Menlo

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Music@Menlo is a unique festival. I’ve been here two days and already their video team headed by Tristan Cook has shot, edited and posted this teaching portrait. This kind of frenetic behind-the-scenes activity is emblematic of what makes this festival stand apart: you can go online and truly experience Music@Menlo from afar, and I suggest you check it out for yourself!

I came here with at least a few expectations. I had known in advance from my colleagues to beware the infamous ears of producer and engineer Da-Hong Seetoo, who never misses an incorrect note, and has been known to suggest better fingerings to nonplussed violinists. (More on that later…) But I hadn’t been so aware of how extensive the educational aspect of Music@Menlo would be. Continue reading

Taiwan with Cho-Liang Lin: a Tale of 4 “Tai’s”

Taichung: between us is media celebrity Susan Yeh

I’ve played in Taiwan before, but only in Taipei. This tour also includes stops in Taichung and Tainan. According to Jimmy, the preponderance of “Tai-“ as a city prefix is a point of pride, and is indeed related to “Tai-“ as the country name’s prefix.

On Wednesday Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin and I played our first recital in Taichung. It was an evening concert, and although it was billed as an educational concert, it wasn’t like any educational concert I’ve played before. I love giving school concerts, but typically much of my energy is devoted to simple crowd control. This audience had kids of all ages, but they were spectacularly attentive, silent during the performances, and demonstratively cheering after each piece.

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Taiwan with Cho-Liang Lin: Chin-Ai Elementary School

I’m on a high from today. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to describe the emotions that accompanied the day’s events, but I can certainly describe what happened.

First, a little background: Our recital tour is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Taiwan.  Outreach and education are as important to them (and to us!) as traditional concerts, so that was always built in as part of the tour. In the meantime, Mercedes G-Class (4 wheel drive) owners have formed a club, wherein the members get together every few months and take an adventurous driving excursion somewhere in Taiwan.

Enter Aowanda National Forest, nestled in the mountains in the center of Taiwan. It’s home to a largely aboriginal community, with a school uniquely appropriate for Cho-Liang Lin to make an appearance (more on that later.) There’s also a lodge for the enthusiastic Mercedes G-Class owners to stay. Continue reading

Taiwan: Canadian Pianists Unite!

Jackie and Louis

I’ve been fortunate over the years to keep in touch with my Canadian pianistic colleagues, most notably through Janina Fialkowska’s founding of Piano Six many years ago. Although the main purpose of the project (and its successor Piano Plus) was for us to individually bring music to smaller communities in Canada, one of the most fun parts of that project was the occasional multi-piano Gala, in which the two of us shared the stage with Angela Cheng, Marc-André Hamelin, Angela Hewitt, and André Laplante. Continue reading


"Jon Kimura Parker...Has never performed as intimately and imaginatively in Portland as he did Sunday. Parker played like a one-man orchestra, calling forth different colors and textures as the music required."
-The Oregonian

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