In the realm of Canadian pianists, James Parker, quite simply, is among the best known. Accomplished, versatile, brilliant, are descriptors all frequently linked to this most sought after artist.
Mr. Parker’s achievements are both lengthy and impressive. James’ musical roots can be traced to the Vancouver Academy of Music and University of British Columbia where he studied with Kum Sing Lee, and then went on to complete his Masters and Doctoral with Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School. Dr. Parker continues the teaching tradition as the Rupert E. Edwards Chair in Piano Performance on the music faculty at the University of Toronto.
Awards came early and often. Beginning in 1984 with a first prize at the Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition, James served notice that he was a rising star. The CBC competition concurred, selecting him winner of the 25th National Competition for Young Performers. The Virginia P. Moore Award as the most promising young classical artist soon followed, further solidifying Parker’s place as one of Canada’s best.
On-air programs have repeatedly sought out his performances. Mr. Parker has made frequent appearances on CBC, and performances on Bravo!, the CanWest Global Network, MuchMusic and a myriad of stations across the globe.
Concerts given by Mr. Parker are artistic wonders. James’ style has earned him The Globe and Mail’s praise as “One of the most searching musical intellects and 10 of the nimblest fingers in the business.” James has enthralled audiences in North America and Europe, counting diplomats and dignitaries among his receptive audiences.
A consummate professional, James is recognized as a soloist and chamber musician. He is the pianist for Canada’s foremost ensemble: the Gryphon Trio. Add to this Mr. Parker’s critically acclaimed performances with major Canadian symphonies like Toronto, Vancouver, National Arts Centre, Nova Scotia and many in between, one is reminded of the scope of his contributions to the national classical music scene. With two JUNO recording awards and many other nominations from his vast discography, James Parker continues to graciously strive to do it all.
Unofficially, he’s Jamie to us.
Photos by John Beebe, Toronto