Jamie (James Edward Kimura) Parker. Pianist, teacher, b Burnaby, BC, 31 May 1963; performance certificate (Vancouver Academy) 1981, B MUS (British Columbia) 1985, M MUS (Juilliard) 1987, DMA (Juilliard). Jamie Parker began studying piano before he was five and won more than 200 first-place awards in music festivals, including first place in the 1981 National Competitive Festival of Music (CIBC National Music Festival). He first studied with his uncle, Edward J. Parker, and later with Kum-Sing Lee at the Vancouver Academy and at the University of British Columbia. In the summers 1978-87, Parker studied with Marek Jablonski at the Banff SFA and, beginning in 1985 with Adele Marcus at Juilliard. He won the 1984 S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition and in 1987 won first place in the MSO Concours. The Canada Council awarded Parker the 1988 Virginia P. Moore Prize. In May 1989, Parker shared first place in the CBC Young Performers' Competition with pianist José Allard, and as winner of Juilliard's Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto Competition, he made his debut at Alice Tully Hall as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra.
Jamie Parker made his orchestral debut in 1981 playing Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Calgary Philharmonic, and subsequently played with all of Canada's major orchestras, notably the TS, Edmonton, National Arts Centre, and Vancouver symphony orchestras. He toured extensively in Canada, including a 1984-5 tour as a result of winning the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition and an eastern tour in 1988 as a participant in Debut Atlantic. In 1985 he also toured with another Eckhardt-Gramatté winner, violinist Joanne Opgenorth, as accompanist. In 1989 Parker was the first pianist to appear in the Canadian Embassy concert series in Washington, DC.
Activities 1990 to 2004
One of the most prominent pianists concentrating on a career in Canada, Jamie Parker performed frequently on CBC radio, and on television (for the Bravo! and Global networks, and for CBC's Adrienne Clarkson Presents). Pursuing engagements as recitalist and soloist in equal measure with chamber music opportunities, he partnered often with his perhaps better-known brother, Jon Kimura Parker, performing as the Parker Duo. Jamie Parker has been featured alone and with various partners at music festivals such as the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Festival de musique de chambre de Montréal, Festival of the Sound, and the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival. Other recital partners have included oboist Philippe Magnan and violinist Susanne Hou, and ensembles such as the Penderecki String Quartet and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble. Most notably, he was a founding member of the critically acclaimed Gryphon Trio in 1993 (of which he remained a member as of 2004), and of the chamber ensemble Music Toronto Chamber Society. As a member of the Britten Chamber Ensemble, he celebrated the 90th anniversary of Benjamin Britten's birth in 2003.
Parker taught at Wilfrid Laurier University 1997-2003, and at the University of Toronto from 2003, where he was associate professor and the Rupert Edwards Chair in piano. He has also taught at the Johannesen International School for the Arts, and has been active as an adjudicator and with master classes.
Parker has been described by Peter Mose as a 'big-style, old fashioned pianist' (Toronto Star, 9 Mar 1987). After a performance in Ottawa, critic Jacob Siskind wrote that Parker 'blazed through some of the toughest passages in the piano repertoire with a sense of control that was really quite astonishing' (Ottawa Citizen, 16 Mar 1987). His repertoire centres around Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky, but also includes Canadian composers such as Jacques Hétu, Christos Hatzis, Gary Kulesha, Henry Kucharzyk, and Andrew MacDonald. He achieved particular praise for his performances of Stravinsky's Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka, which are included on an RCI CD (1988, RCI-649) along with works by Beethoven, Chopin, and Brahms. Parker may also be heard performing Harry Somers' Third Piano Concerto on the CD Harry Somers: Celebration (CBC SMCD 5199), and he made numerous popular recordings with the Gryphon Trio.