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Speaking of Pianists » Blog Archive » JACKIE’S BACK

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    JACKIE’S BACK

    Jon Kimura Parker, Jackie to everyone, is one of the most animated people I’ve ever known, and also one of the most remarkable pianists I’ve heard. Full of energy, he bursts on the scene, plays brilliantly, then often hurries off to catch a plane for the next performance. He’s constantly concerned that there’s not enough time to practice, yet he always seems to have a completely focused musical conception and impeccable accuracy.

    He has played from Baffin Island (OK, Atlanta) to Zimbabwe. And don’t forget Sarajevo.

    One thing that gives his music-making such an edge I believe, is that Parker is interested in the world beyond classical music, from Alanis (Morissette) to (Frank) Zappa. He is in awe of the late Oscar Peterson and loves the X-Files so much that he once used a theme from the show in a Mozart Concerto cadenza. Wish I had seen the faces of the orchestra members. As if he didn’t have enough to do, he’s also a brilliant transcriber/arranger. We’ve heard his arrangement of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in Portland before, and it’s a knockout.

    Looking at his schedule, I wonder how he has time to teach very much at Rice University’s Shepard School of Music. Yet one of our Portland young artists who entered Rice this past fall to study with him reports that he has never missed a lesson, and that it’s so exciting because he can play EVERYTHING! Judy Park, winner of numerous awards, is off to a grand start with Professor Parker in Houston. We need teachers who promote real living, and I can’t think of a better example than Jon Kimura Parker as artist and life-long explorer. He is a wonderful teacher, and you can see him in action at his master class on Saturday evening. See the PPI home page for details.

    I bet you can’t name another classical pianist who has been on the Disney Channel.

    This coming weekend the Oregon Symphony will present pianist Arnaldo Cohen playing Liszt’s Second Concerto in A Major. Those programs are on Saturday through Monday. Cohen is a huge talent, with a textural palate of immense variety. He will return to the Portland Piano International Series in the 2008-2009 season for a recital, but hear him with the Oregon Symphony if you can.

    2 Responses to “JACKIE’S BACK”

    1. Elina Says:

      I am very excited to have Mr. Parker back in town. I met him a couple of summers ago at the summer festival and am glad he is back in Portland for the weekend. Looking forward to the masterclass on Saturday!

    2. Bob King Says:

      Thank you Harold, for taking time to give your personal comments and reflections on the pianists and piano-based concerts passing through our fair city. I know I have missed, and I think I can speak for some others that miss your pre-concert talks. Obviously I understand there simply isn’t a place for them at this time, but I’m glad to get your ‘voice’ in this alternative (if disembodied) way! Looking forward to JKP tonight.

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