On April 13, 14 and 15, guest conductor Pablo Heras-Casado will conduct the Houston Symphony with a special appearance by Houston’s own celebrity pianist Jon Kimura Parker, who is also a Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Truly a favorite of Houston audiences, Parker has performed with the Houston Symphony twenty times since his debut with the Symphony in October 1994 performing everything from the piano concertos of Gershwin and Mozart to Barber and Shostakovich. Parker will be performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 during this month’s concerts.
The program will open with Schumann’s Overture to Manfred and close with Stravinsky’sPetrouchka (1947). A musical grand finale to this star studded concert, Petrouchka was written by Stravinsky as music to accompany a ballet. The ballet tells the story of a Russian puppet,Petrouchka, who is made of straw with a bag of sawdust as his body. As the ballet develops, the music chronicles the emotions and experiences of Petrouchka when the puppet comes to life. Audiences will be able to imagine the story of the puppet come to life as they listen to the extraordinarily exciting sounds of Petrouchka.
Fidelity Investments Classical Series
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002
Friday, April 13, 2012, 8:00pm
Saturday, April 14, 2012, 8:00pm
Sunday, April 15, 2012, 2:30pm
Petrouchka & Beethoven
Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor
Jon Kimura Parker, piano
Schumann: Overture to Manfred
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1
Stravinsky: Petrouchka (1947)
Tickets from: $25
About Pablo Heras-Casado
Pablo Heras-Casado enjoys a multi-faceted conducting career of unusual breadth and variety, from early music to cutting-edge contemporary scores, intimate chamber programs and grand opera.
Recently announced as principal conductor of New York’s Orchestra of St Luke’s, 2011-12 also sees a number of significant guest conducting debuts for Heras-Casado – including the Berlin Philharmonic, The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, New World Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Orchestra and Staatskapelle Berlin. He will also work for the first time with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, while returning to the Houston and San Francisco symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
Also in demand as an opera conductor, this season’s plans include Iphigenie In Tauride with the Canadian Opera Company and L’elisir d’amore for the Baden-Baden Festival Theatre. Other projects include touring with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra in March 2012, an invitation for significant new music projects with Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris and at the Lucerne Festival and conducting Klangforum Wien at the Salzburg Festival.
Highlights of the 2012-13 season include debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as return visits to the Chicago Symphony and Teatro Real Madrid.
About Jon Kimura Parker
One of the most sought-after performing pianists today, Jon Kimura Parker performed an unprecedented array of piano concertos in the 2010-11 season, including Rachmaninoff No. 3, Brahms No. 2, Tchaikovsky No. 1, Barber, Gershwin, Beethoven No. 4, Beethoven “Emperor”, Grieg, and several by Mozart. A true Canadian ambassador of music, Parker has given command performances for Queen Elizabeth II, the United States Supreme Court, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan. He is an Officer of The Order of Canada, his country's highest civilian honor.
Parker has performed as guest soloist with major orchestras nationally and internationally, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie, Warsaw Philharmonic and NHK Tokyo Orchestra. Conductors he has recently worked with include James DePreist, Jeffrey Kahane, Carlos Kalmar, Jahja Ling, Andrew Litton, Peter Oundjian, Larry Rachleff, Arild Remmereit and Pinchas Zukerman.
He performs as duo partner regularly with James Ehnes, Lynn Harrell and Cho-Liang Lin. An unusually versatile artist, Parker has also jammed with Audra McDonald, Bobby McFerrin and Doc Severinsen. As a member of the outreach project Piano Plus, Mr. Parker toured remote areas including the Canadian Arctic, performing classical music and rock 'n' roll on everything from upright pianos to electronic keyboards. In commemoration of his special performance in war-torn Sarajevo in 1995, he was a featured speaker alongside humanitarians Elie Wiesel and Paul Rusesabagina at the 50th Anniversary of AmeriCares.
An active media personality, Parker hosted the television series Whole Notes on Bravo! Canada, and CBC Radio Two's Up and Coming. His YouTube channel features the Concerto Chat videos, in which he discusses the piano concerto repertoire.
In addition to his performances of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Houston Symphony this season, Parker will also perform the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Bournemouth Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, West Virginia Symphony and Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Rachmaninoff-Paganini Rhapsody with the Nashville Symphony and the piano concerti of Brahms, Grieg and Barber. His recital program includes his solo transcription to celebrate the centenary of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka.
A committed educator, Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. He has lectured at The Juilliard School, The Steans Institute, New York University and Yale University. Parker frequently brings music to public schools in informal concert presentations. His students have performed with major orchestras across the U.S.
Parker studied with Edward Parker and Keiko Parker privately, Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music and the University of British Columbia, Marek Jablonski at the Banff Centre, and Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School. He won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition. Mr. Parker has recorded for Telarc with Yoel Levi, Andre Previn and Peter Schickele. He was born, raised and educated in Vancouver. He lives in Houston with his wife, violinist Aloysia Friedmann and their daughter Sophie.
About the Houston Symphony
During the 2011-12 Season, the Houston Symphony will be in its 98th year as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. Under the artistic leadership of Hans Graf, one of the orchestra’s longest serving music directors, the Symphony has established a reputation for innovative, powerful performances. With its Centennial Celebration on the horizon in 2013-14, the Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $25 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 280 concerts for 300,000 people annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.
Contact Claire Studdard at Houston Symphony for more information.