Minnesota Orchestra booms with Rachmaninoff

By David Hawley Special to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press

If the movie “Shine” introduced you to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, be advised that Jon Kimura Parker did not lose his sanity when he performed it Thursday with the Minnesota Orchestra.

And if you’re old enough to remember the Cold War, be advised that nobody bellowed “communist propaganda!” during conductor Andrew Litton’s reading of Shostak-ovich’s Symphony No. 12, subtitled “The Year 1917” to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution.

The program, which gets its final performance tonight, is a particularly luscious and compelling one, since neither of its big works are heard that often, particularly the symphony, in a live performance. And if it’s big sounds you want, this is your… Continue reading

Last-minute pianist was key to fine CSO performance

Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post

Horacio Gutierrez is certainly a fine pianist. But he is also prone to cancellations, as his spotty attendance record in Denver makes all too clear.

When the Colorado Symphony announced last week he would not be able to perform his two concerts this weekend because of illness, it was his third missed engagement here in less than a decade.

Fortunately, though, the orchestra was able to secure the last-minute services of Jon Kimura Parker. And Saturday evening, he brought his reliably high-caliber playing to Ludwig van Beethoven’s well-known Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58. Continue reading

Mozart Festival: A Little Night Music with Jon Kimura Parker

Friday, Nov 5 2010

Bob Clark, Calgary Herald

The music of Mozart from near the beginning of his career to very close to the end was the focus of a Calgary Philharmonic program on Thursday at Jack Singer Concert Hall that clearly made Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker a close runner-up to the composer in audience affections.

The Mozart Festival concert began, singularly enough, with a performance of the famous Piano Sonata No. 16 in C Major, K.545  – performed the way many of us tried in vain to play as piano students (and many a long-suffering teacher wished we had).

The flash of liquid scales in the opening Allegro, the finely expressive playing in the ensuing Andante, and a sense of playfulness that came with a hint of drama in the final Rondo – it all sounded so wonderfully intimate coming from the splendid fortepiano lent for the occasion by the University of Calgary.

“I’ve never played on a fortepiano before,” Parker told us from the stage immediately after he had finished playing the piece – much to our astonishment and amusement. Furthermore, he added, “I’ve actually never played that sonata before. I must be the only pianist who never played it as a kid.” Continue reading

At the TSO, Samuel Barber is no longer edgy, but full of life

Music: Concert Review

KEN WINTERS From Friday’s Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Oct. 07, 2010 2:53PM EDT

At Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on Wednesday An evening of the music of that gentle American Samuel Barber may not, in prospect, set your blood pumping. But in reality, with the right program and the right people to bring it all to life, as we heard Wednesday night, it can provide some distinctive and touching musical satisfactions, and even some robust excitements. Continue reading

Toronto Symphony serves up blazing birthday cake to Samuel Barber

Published On Wed Oct 06 2010

Composer Samuel BarberComposer Samuel Barber

By John Terauds Entertainment Reporter

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

(out of 4)

With violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Jon Kimura Parker. Peter Oundjian, conductor. Repeats Thursday. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 (

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 100th birthday cake for composer Samuel Barber was a blaze of candles on Wednesday night at Roy Thomson Hall.

The evening, entirely devoted to the music of this American master, was a succession of Wow! moments from an intensely atmospheric beginning to a blazing end. Continue reading

Delaware Symphony Orchestra’s emotional program brings whoops of approval – Concert builds to wall of sound

By BETSY PRICE • The News Journal • October 2, 2010

Bet you can’t sleep through tonight’s Delaware Symphony Orchestra concert.

You might be lured into thinking you could by the opener, John Adams‘ “Tromba Lontana,” a lyrical four-minute piece, but by the time you get to Adams’ maniacal “Short Ride in a Fast Machine,” you will know there’s no shortcut to the Land of Nod.

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker will then turn in a tour de force rendition of Samuel Barber’s “Concerto fo Piano and Orchestra, op. 38.” On Friday night, It brought whoops of approval — and the audience to its feet. They applauded so long and so loud that he returned to perform again. Continue reading

Schoenfield’s Sonata is a work of its time

REVIEW | 07.24.10 | By James McQuillen | The Oregonian

Paul Schoenfield’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, co-commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest and given its Northwest premiere Friday night at Kaul Auditorium, is a work of its time. For one thing, Schoenfield delivered it to violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Jon Kimura Parker via email in the form of a PDF file; like much of classical music itself, the legends of manuscripts delivered with the ink still wet just moments before a premiere may be a thing of the past.

More important, like the postmodern literature of David Markson that inspired the first movement (which borrowed the title of Markson’s novel Vanishing Point), it overflowed with fragmentary allusions. As Parker told the audience before taking to the keyboard, the duo asked Schoenfield about the one of the more overt of these, a quote from Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto, and the composer replied with a long list of all the pieces he’d mined for material: another Beethoven concerto; works by Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt, among others; and a variety of songs including “My Darling Clementine.” In Parker’s telling, the exchange recalled the familiar scene in the old Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons in which Tennessee and Chumley consult Mr. Whoopee, who then opens the door of his ridiculously overflowing closet to extract answers. Continue reading

Chamber Music Northwest ensembles revel in dynamic contrasts

REVIEW | 07.26.10 | By James Bash | Oregon Music News

With its concert on Friday evening (July 23) at Kaul Auditorium, Chamber Music Northwest placed an emphasis on pieces that explored the theme of dynamic contrasts. The program consisted of music by Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, and newcomer Paul Schoenfield. While Schoenfield’s work (co-commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest) was the wildest, all of the works revealed plenty of sonic variety, and all received superb performances. Continue reading

Intensity abounds in opening Sommerfest concert

REVIEW | 07.09.10 | By Rob Hubbard | St. Paul Pioneer Press

Just as the Viennese open the year with a bubbly concert full of waltzes and polkas from the Strauss family, so does the Minnesota Orchestra annually launch its summer celebration of Vienna’s music with a similar program. Usually, the more serious fare is saved until later in the festival, but — since the economy has squeezed Sommerfest down to 11 concerts — perhaps music director Andrew Litton decided to cut to the chase. Hence, the emotional storm clouds of Beethoven rolled in early at Friday’s opening concert.

And what welcome thunder it was. Jon Kimura Parker was the featured soloist for a performance of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto that rippled with intensity and was filled with interesting interpretive ideas. Sure, the waltzes and polkas were a pleasant diversion, but Parker’s performance served up some substance amid the sweetness. Continue reading

Works Made on the Wings of Inspiration

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, with Cho-Liang Lin on violin, Jon Kimura Parker on piano and William VerMeulen on French horn, performing in concert at Alice Tully Hall on Sunday afternoon.

REVIEW | 05.05.10 | By Vivien Schweitzer | The New York Times Deadlines, poverty and ambition have long been motivating factors for composers, as for many artists. But according to the program book for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s concert at Alice Tully Hall on Sunday afternoon, the featured works were not driven by prosaic concerns but composed “on wings of pure inspiration.”

Dvorak was inspired to write his Sonatina in G for Violin and Piano (Op. 100) after visiting Minnehaha Falls in Minnesota, where he is said to have scribbled a melody on his shirt cuff; he used it in the Larghetto. The work, which Dvorak composed for two of his children (aged 10 and 15), weaves echoes of folk tunes and black and American Indian songs into its four movements. The pianist Jon Kimura Parker and the violinist Cho-Liang Lin played it graciously and with considerable charm. 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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