Jahja Ling, Jon Kimura Parker and the SD Symphony in sync

REVIEW | 5.04.2012 | by James Chute | San Diego Union-Tribune

Jon Kimura Parker by Tara McMullen

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

Inserting the Brand-New Alongside the Old Familiar – New York Times

A John Harbison Sonata at Alice Tully Hall

REVIEW | 04. 27.12 | By Allan Kozinn | The New York Times

Cho-Liang Lin, Jon Kimura Parker, and Liz Parker

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

Pianist Parker has Brahms well in hand(s)

REVIEW | 3.05.2012 | By Holly Harris | Winnipeg Free Press

Jon Kimura Parker's hands by Tara McMullen

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

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

[pb_vidembed title=”Teaching Portrait: Jon Kimura Parker” caption=”Teaching Portrait: Jon Kimura Parker” url=”http://vimeo.com/27299935″ type=”vem” w=”480″ h=”385″]

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.

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


"Fantasy is not just a technical showcase, but a big, clear picture window of a musician with a rich soul and great artistic depth. It is also a fantastic example of programming that entertains as well as edifies.”
-Musical Toronto

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