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

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

Parker, Ling take Beethoven to new heights

Jon Kimura Parker performs with the San Diego Symphony during the Beethoven Festival on Saturday night at Copley Symphony Hall.

REVIEW | 04.26.10 | By James Chute,  | San Diego Union-Tribune Arts Editor The last time Jon Kimura Parker was in town, it was for the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, when he put on a Star Trek uniform, joined in a multipianist version of the theme from the iconic TV show, and even did a memorable impression of McCoy, exclaiming, “Dammit Jim, I’m a concert pianist, not a …”

Saturday at Copley Symphony Hall for the belated opening of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Festival, Parker boldly went where few men have gone before, substituting for an ailing Yefim Bronfman.

Continue reading

Jon Kimura Parker Shines from Beethoven to Billy Joel

REVIEW | 11.15.09 | By L.H. Tiffany Hsieh | Scena Once in a while, a concert pianist comes across as both virtuoso and versatile. That was the case at Koerner Hall on Nov. 8. The pianist was Canada’s own Jon Kimura Parker, whose afternoon recital began with two well-known Beethoven sonatas.

The Pathétique (Op. 13) and Appassionata (Op. 57) are two of Beethoven’s most beloved piano sonatas. Parker played both pieces with conviction and a clear sense of structures that kept the big picture in focus.

With Beethoven, rests are just as important as notes, and while Parker’s rests seemed peculiarly long at times (for example, the Grave in Pathétique), they created extra tension and drama in the beautiful, intimate Koerner Hall. The sound he produced from the shiny black Steinway was warm and luminous, but the contrast in dynamics was overwhelmed at times, especially in loud crescendos. The slow movements were simple and lovely, his voicing and tonal imagination unmatched. Continue reading

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker and violinist James Ehnes perform in one of finest concerts of the year

James Ehnes, Violinist

REVIEW | 07.23.09 | Toronto Star Serious music usually takes a summertime break in Toronto. But that didn’t stop an upstart downtown festival from giving us one of the finest concerts of the year Tuesday night.

It took 15 years for two Canadian stars – pianist Jon Kimura Parker and violinist James Ehnes – to co-ordinate their performing schedules. Given the spectacular results at the Carlu (the once-legendary Eaton Auditorium), one can only hope that this was the beginning of a long and frequent collaboration.

The duo opened the fourth annual Toronto Summer Music Academy & Festival, which runs to Aug. 13.

Organizers could not have picked a finer way to showcase the quality of musician that artistic director Agnes Grossman has attracted. Continue reading

Rains fail to dampen fervor of Grant Park’s Burnham premiere

REVIEW  |  06.22.09  |  Chicago Tribune As if heeding a Daniel Burnham-esque call for renewed civic dedication in the face of adversity, a hardy band of listeners stuck out a drenching thunderstorm to witness the world premiere of a new Burnham-inspired oratorio Friday night in Millennium Park.

This Grant Park Music Festival event gave a soggy send-off to the yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of the architect’s Plan of Chicago. A noisy cloudburst cleared the Great Lawn and forced many to seek shelter at the back of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

While it was hardly the most auspicious launch for “Plans,” American composer Michael Torke’s oratorio drew a committed performance from the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, and vocal soloists, under Carlos Kalmar’s direction. City and state dignitaries, including Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Richard M. Daley (heard via tape recording), lent their imprimatur to the kickoff. Continue reading



"Mr. Parker was an insightful, energetic soloist...the audience roared in approval."
-The New York Times



“absolutely top-notch music-making, as fine as one could ever expect to hear…they (the Montrose Trio) are poised to become one of the top piano trios in the world.”
-Washington Post

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