Born: December 25, 1959; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Jon Kimura Parker, known as "Jackie" to his friends, is a pianist who is not only interested in a wide range of music, but also truly enjoys making music. It could even be said that he really knows how to play: he has performed wearing a Star Trek: The Next Generation costume, and he has slipped the theme to The Simpsons into a cadenza.
Parker was raised in Vancouver, where he and his brother, pianist Jamie Parker, studied with theirRead more uncle Edward J. Parker. Parker also studied at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Vancouver Academy of Music, and the University of British Columbia. He then went on to work with Adele Marcus at Juilliard. Even as a young pianist, Parker admits admiring a diversity of music and pianists, such as Arthur Rubinstein, Elton John, and his idol, Oscar Peterson. He will sometimes use Peterson's music for encores at recitals. In 1984, Parker won the Leeds International Piano Competition, effectively launching a career as a soloist that has taken him around the world, performing repertoire ranging from Mozart to Bartók to that of contemporary composers. He accompanied an AmeriCares humanitarian relief mission to Bosnia in 1995, where he and the Sarajevo Philharmonic performed a New Year's Eve concert in a hall with no heat. His performances are as frequently noted for their energy and enthusiasm as they are for his colorful tone and technical skills. Besides his solo work, Parker just as often performs chamber music and music for multiple pianos. He is a member of "Piano Six," a group of Canadian pianists (the others are: Janina Fialkowska, Angela Hewitt, Angela Cheng, Marc-André Hamelin, and André Laplante) who take music to the remotest areas of the country, performing and teaching together and separately for people who don't get to hear live music as frequently as those living in urban areas. Parker also makes several festival appearances every year, including the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, off the Pacific coast, where his wife -- violinist Aloysia Friedmann -- is artistic director. Parker teaches at Rice University in Houston, TX, when he isn't traveling around, sharing a Beethoven concerto or a song by Alanis Morissette or the X-Files theme with an unsuspecting audience. Read less
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