Renowned Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker joins the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Parker Performs Grieg, the fifth Ovation Series concert of the season on February 15-16

In the fifth Ovation Series concerts of the NAC’s 2011-2012 season, brilliant piano soloist – and audience favourite -- Jon Kimura Parker shines in a performance of Grieg’s famous Piano Concerto. The program, conducted by Jakub Hrusa, also includes Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto and Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony. Parker Performs Grieg is at 8 p.m. in the NAC’s Southam Hall on Wednesday February 15 and Thursday February 16, 2012.

The program for the evening includes:
STRAVINSKY  Concerto in E flat for Chamber Orchestra “Dumbarton Oaks”
GRIEG   Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
DVOŘÁK  Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op. 60, B. 112

PRE-CONCERT MUSIC with Daniel Parker, cello
February 15-16, 7 p.m., location TBA
Astral Radio is committed to the future of Canadian music and is helping to nurture, support, and showcase the next generation of great Canadian artists.
Astral Radio is proud to support the young artist performing in this concert.

POST-CONCERT TALKBACK (in English) – Southam Hall
Jakub Hrusa and Jon Kimura Parker

The exquisite Concerto in E flat for Chamber Orchestra, “Dumbarton Oaks” is a marvelous showcase for the NAC Orchestra wind players. It is representative of Igor Stravinsky’s “Neo-Classic” period, which spanned the middle third of his extraordinarily creative life. The piece was commissioned in 1937 by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss of Dumbarton Oaks (the name of the Bliss estate in Washington, D.C.) in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary in 1938. At the time of the commission, Stravinsky had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and was sent to a Swiss sanatorium, where he immersed himself in the music of Bach while composing the Concerto. The premiere took place in Washington on May 8, 1938. Stravinsky often recapitulates forms and gestures of the Western musical tradition and the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto is a lesson on the art of writing a concerto in the Baroque style realized in modern harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic idioms.

Vancouver-born Jon Kimura Parker promises to dazzle with Edvard Grieg’s instantly recognizable piano concerto. The Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, composed by 24-year-old Grieg in 1868, is powerful and quite astonishingly beautiful; it was the only concerto Grieg ever completed. It is one of his most successful works and among the most popular of all piano concerti; pop cultural references to the Concert abound. Grieg was greatly influenced by Robert Schumann’s style as well as the folk music of his native Norway. The work was premiered on April 3, 1869 in Copenhagen, with Holger Simon Paulli conducting. The concerto is the first piano concerto ever recorded — in an abridged version, by pianist Wilhelm Backhaus in 1909. Grieg revised the work at least seven times, usually in subtle ways, but amounting to over 300 differences from the original orchestration. The final version of the concerto was completed only a few weeks before Grieg's death, and it is this version that has achieved worldwide popularity.

Internationally acclaimed pianist Jon Kimura Parker has performed as guest artist with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and with major orchestras throughout Canada and the U.S. He has given recitals in London, New York, Chicago, Munich, Budapest, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Tokyo and has performed with the Tokyo Quartet and Joshua Bell. In the spring of 2007 he performed and spoke alongside humanitarians Elie Wiesel and Paul Rusesabagina at the 50th Anniversary of AmeriCares, under whose auspices he performed in war-torn Sarajevo in 1995. In the summer of 2007 he gave the world premiere of Peter Schickele’s Music for Orcas Island, and in 2009 he joined Cho-Liang Lin in the world premiere of a new violin sonata by Paul Schoenfield. A versatile performer, he has jammed with Doc Severinsen and Bobby McFerrin, and collaborated with Audra McDonald and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Mr. Parker was awarded the Order of Canada in 1999. Jon Kimura Parker is Professor of Piano at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. A committed educator, he has given master classes, hosted the TV series “WholeNotes” about classical music, and given recitals and lectures in remote regions of Canada as a founding member of “Piano Plus.” Mr. Parker was also seen performing on CNN and has been documented frequently on CBC, as well as on PBS’s “The Visionaries.” Mr. Parker has recorded for Telarc with André Previn, Yoel Levi, and Peter Schickele. “Jackie” Parker studied with Edward Parker, Keiko Parker, Robin Wood, Marek Jablonski, and Lee Kum-Sing, as well as with Adele Marcus, under whom he received his doctorate at The Juilliard School.

Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) composed his Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op. 60, B. 112, in 1880. The four-movement piece was one of the first of Dvořák’s large symphonic works to draw international attention. In it, he manages to capture a bit of the Czech national style within a standard Germanic classical-romantic form. It is dedicated to Hans Richter, who was the conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, although the premiere was performed in Prague on March 25, 1881 by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The period of Dvořák’s life that culminated with his Symphony No. 6 was a time of experimentation and development of a personal compositional style based on his studies of the Germanic classical tradition. A number of factors influenced his Sixth Symphony, including the conservatism of Brahms and his followers, the modernism of the Liszt-Wagner school, and the nationalism that was then prevalent in almost every country in Europe.

Parker Performs Grieg will be performed in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Wednesday February 15 and Thursday February 16, 2012 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.45, $31.21, $42.51, $53.81, $64.57, $75.33, and $94.17, for adults and $11.38, $16.76, $22.41, $28.06, $33.44, $38.82, and $48.24 for students (upon presentation of a valid student ID card). Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website

Subject to availability, full-time students (aged 13-29) with valid Live Rush™ membership (free registration at may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of $12 per ticket. Tickets are available online ( or at the NAC box office from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance until 6 p.m. on the day of the show or 2 hours before a matinee. Groups of 10 or more save 15% to 20% off regular ticket prices to all NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances; to reserve your seats, call 613-947-7000, ext. 634 or e-mail

Discover the new NACmusicbox TIMELINE: 200 orchestral works, 80 Canadian compositions,
1 interactive TIMELINE that provides a visual representation of our rare online archival collection and encourages the exploration of music connections. The NACmusicbox TIMELINE has been specifically designed to showcase the works of Canadian composers within the history of orchestral music and offers cross-curricular content with classroom-ready activities and lesson plans developed by teachers for teachers. Visit today.
The National Arts Centre gratefully acknowledges the financial investment by the Department of Canadian Heritage in the creation of this online presentation for the Virtual Museum of Canada.
We also thank our partner CBC Radio 2 for generously providing broadcast-quality recordings of the NAC Orchestra’s archival performances.

For additional information, visit the NAC website at 

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Information:  Gerald Morris
Communications Officer, NAC Music
613-947-7000, ext. 335

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