Burnaby's first family of piano steps into the spotlight

Jon Kimura Parker and Ian Parker are featured in the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra's spring concert on Mother's Day weekend

It will be a family affair when the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra offers up a spring concert on Mother’s Day weekend.

The orchestra is presenting the concert on Sunday, May 12 at the Orpheum Theatre and on Monday, May 13 at West Vancouver’s Kay Meek Arts Centre. It will feature Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, along with Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

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The orchestra is directed by Ian Parker, and the guest soloist will be internationally acclaimed pianist Jon Kimura Parker. (Yes, the two Parkers are related; they’re cousins.)

The Parker family’s roots run deep in Burnaby. Ian’s father, Edward Parker, was a noted piano teacher in the city for many decades; Jon’s mother, Keiko Kimura - who was married to Edward’s brother, John - was also a music teacher in Burnaby for 46 years before her retirement. (Edward passed away in 2018 and John in 2009.)

Jon Kimura Parker’s early acclaim in piano performance dates back to such Burnaby events as the Cavalcade of Stars – a celebration of emerging talent that used to be held each year – and the Clef Society Concerto Competition. He went on to win the gold medal at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition and has since carved out a career as a concert pianist in solo recitals, concerto performances and as a chamber musician. He holds a doctorate in music from the Juilliard School and is a professor of piano at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and artistic director of the Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary.

Ian Parker holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School, where he won the 2002 William Petschek Piano Debut Award. He, too, has an active career as a concert pianist, performing around the world, and as a recording artist.

(Want to know more about this fascinating family? Check out this article on the Ludwig Van Toronto site.)  

The Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra concert will be onstage May 12 at 4 p.m. at the Orpheum (601 Smithe St., Vancouver). Tickets ($10 to $15) are available through www.vamso.ca.

It’s also on at the Kay Meek Arts Centre, 1700 Mathers Ave., West Vancouver, at 7:30 p.m. on May 13. Tickets ($10 to $15) are available through 604-981-6335 or www.kaymeek.com.



Check out a Concerto Chat with Jon Kimura Parker, discussing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto:


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