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ATMA Profile: Ian Parker


The magnetic Canadian pianist Ian Parker captivates audiences wherever he goes. Praised for his “show-stopping performances” (Times-Picayune, New Orleans), Parker has performed across the United States, Western Europe, Israel, and throughout Canada on tours with Debut Atlantic and Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. He divides his time between Vancouver and New York City, where he lives during the concert season.

Born in Vancouver to a family of pianists, Ian Parker began his piano studies at age three with his father, Edward Parker. He is the younger cousin of concert pianists Jon Kimura Parker and Jamie Parker and holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, the Canada Council for the Arts awarded him the Sylva Gelber Career Grant, which is given annually to the “most talented Canadian artist.”


The first recording I ever bought was:

Since my parents had thousands of classical records to choose from, the first recording I bought was non-classical. It was an LP of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” which I purchased for 25 cents at a garage sale down the street from my child-hood house. I listened to it so many times the needle wore out the record.

I can’t live without:

Good Chinese food! And I don’t mean the local take out window. I like it as authentic as possible. My mother was from Shanghai and always prepared the most delicious dishes rarely found in local restaurants. Some may find these dishes very strange. I also have cravings for sushi, but will take Good Chinese.

The most comical thing that happened to me onstage was:

One of the funniest moments on stage is when I played a concert with my friend and conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin who showed up with the identical tuxedo I was wearing. It had unusual lines and contrasting shades of black, so they were certainly unique. We later realized we bought it at the same store on different days.

I can’t go onstage without:

Eating two bananas! The high potassium content has a relaxing effect and they’re easy on the stomach. Come to think of it, it’s the only time I have a banana.

If I hadn’t been a pianist, I’d have been:

I’ve always had a passion for flying. I flew a four-seat Cessna in my late teens, but didn’t have enough time to dedicate myself to it. Strangely, I’ve recently become more terrified of bumpy flights.

My weakness is:

Fine red wines. I was introduced by a wonderful French family living in Montreal to their passion for wine and was quickly intrigued by the scent. I do love French and Italian wine, but also have a deep admiration for B.C. wines.

My ideal night off is:

Cooking for my friends and family. Growing up in Vancouver, I was so lucky to be exposed to so many wonderful products and a big ethnic variety of flavours. I enjoy having friends over for dinner and listening to music.

My all-time favourite musician is:

Marek Jablonski, the great Polish pianist and teacher whom I was blessed to work with. I studied with him for three summers at the Banff Centre and was so inspired by his character and view on music. He made everyone listen.

My favourite composer to play is :

Brahms. His organic sense of melody and rhythm is so utterly satisfying and the harmonies are intoxicating. His writing for piano is awkward, but feels so good inside the hand.

My favourite composer to listen to is:

My favourite composer to listen to is J.S. Bach. Isn’t he yours? It’s perfect music.

My motto is:

“In music, as in life, the mystery is heard in the space between the notes…”

One thing very few people know about me is:

I always kiss my mother’s bracelet which I now wear before I walk on stage. It is the only reminder I have of my mother who was always my source of peace, strength, and faith. I’ve not worn a watch in over ten years, as this bracelet will remain on its own on my left wrist.

I am most looking forward to:

This recording project was such a great experience; I so much look forward to my next couple of recording projects. I also look forward to my continued studies in conducting and wish to expand that aspect of my musical life. The idea of working with so many great musicians and different instrumentalists as a conductor is unbelievably thrilling!

Luisa Trisi


ATMA signs pianist Ian Parker
ATMA Classique is pleased to announce the signing of Canadian pianist Ian Parker to the label. His first recording for ATMA will be released August 31 and features Parker as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra under conductor Michael Francis.
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Ian Parker
The magnetic Canadian pianist Ian Parker captivates audiences wherever he goes. Praised for his “show-stopping performances” (Times-Picayune, New Orleans), Parker has performed across the United States, Western Europe, Israel, and throughout Canada on tou