LSM Newswire

Friday, March 5, 2010

Four outstanding pianists perform together on stage in rare concert event - Mar. 10

Piano Spectacular
Wednesday, March 10th – 7:30 pm

Edmonton, AB … Your Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) embraces the diversity of great pianists and composers in a rare evening celebrating all things pianistic. Four dazzling musicians perform on four beautiful Steinway pianos at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music in this one-night only event. Music Director William Eddins will take on a dual role of conductor and performer, and in doing so will share the stage and the same ivory keys with extraordinary pianists Jon Kimura Parker, Angela Cheng, and Michael Massey.

When not conducting the orchestra from the podium, Bill Eddins leads from the piano when he plays the final movement from Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor, which features both a restless rippling melody contrasted by a bright cheerful melody. In an extremely rare solo performance, with only a piano and himself on stage, Mr. Eddins will play the energetic, vigorous, carefree, yet dignified El pelele by Enrique Granados.

Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Jon Kimura Parker will be backed by the ESO in Rachmaninoff’s fiercely virtuosic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and in Mozart’s final movement of his final work for piano and orchestra, Piano Concerto in B-flat Major. Mr. Parker will then perform two solo piano works – a movement from Beethoven’s Eighth Sonata, nicknamed “The Pathétique” and famous for its famous melancholic melody, and his own arrangement of music from Stravinsky’s lively Petroushka, based on an old Russian folk tale.

One of Canada’s brightest pianists returns to the Winspear stage to play works by a composer who wrote almost exclusively for piano, and a composer who himself was a brilliant pianist. Edmonton’s own Angela Cheng will be accompanied by the orchestra in a movement of Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto, but will perform as a soloist in Chopin’s First Ballade, a romantic piece of music cast in shadows of darkness. Ms. Cheng and the orchestra also present the beautifully sublime Andante movement from Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Major.

Current Music Director of the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, Michael Massey takes to the ivory keys in Finzi’s Eclogue, a simple work yet rich in texture which is unfailingly moving in performance. Once the orchestra clears the stage for solo performances, Mr. Massey brings two of Medtner’s “Fairy Tales” to life, or Skazi as Medtner knew them.

Piano Spectacular will be recorded for broadcast on CBC’s In Concert, with host Bill Richardson. In Concert can be heard every Sunday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on CBC Radio Two, 90.9 FM in Edmonton. The air-date will be announced on our website,, once confirmed.

Please note that there will be two intermissions during this concert. Ticket prices range from $24 – $69 (agency fees apply), and are available through the Winspear Centre Box Office. Purchase by phone at (780) 428-1414, toll-free at 1-800-563-5081, or online at

The next Symphony Special will take place on April 13th, 2010. Contemporary Christian artist Sandi Patty performs timeless hymns and inspirational classics with your ESO.

Thank you to our season media sponsors CBC and the Edmonton Journal, and performance sponsors Piano Centre and Global TV.

Sponsorship inquiries can be directed to Marc Carnes, Director of Development, at (780) 401-2518.

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, marking its 58th season in 2009-2010, has taken its place as one of Canada's foremost orchestral ensemble. Its current roster includes 56 musicians from Canada and around the world, performing a wide-ranging repertoire from the great classical masterworks to pops and children's concerts. The presence of the orchestra and its enrichment of the community's quality of life are key elements in the stature and profile of Edmonton on the national and international scene.

Media Contact:
Pamela Pecush, Publicist
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Office: (780) 401-2532; Cell: (780) 952-2532

Winspear Centre Box Office:
#4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
(780) 428-1414 or 1-800-563-5081


Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Jon Kimura Parker’s extraordinary career has taken him from Carnegie Hall and London’s Royal Festival Hall to Baffin Island and Zimbabwe. An Officer of The Order of Canada, Mr. Parker has given two command performances for Queen Elizabeth II, and has performed for the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan. Mr. Parker has performed as guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the NHK Tokyo Orchestra, and with other major orchestras in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Montréal, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Toronto. An active media personality, Mr. Parker has hosted the classical music television series Whole Notes, on the Bravo! network. He also hosted CBC Radio Two’s five-part series Up And Coming, showcasing young musicians. Mr. Parker was also seen on CNN performing in war-torn Sarajevo, and documented on PBS’s The Visionaries.

Jon Kimura Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. He is also the E. Stephen Purdom Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, and Honorary Co-Chair of the Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa. “Jackie” Parker received all of his early education with his uncle, Edward Parker and his mother, Keiko Parker. He studied with Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music and University of British Columbia, Marek Jablonski at The Banff Centre, and with renowned pedagogue Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School, where he received his doctorate. He won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition. He was born, raised, and educated in Vancouver. He lives in Houston with his wife, violinist Aloysia Friedmann and their daughter Sophie. For further information, please see and

Mr. Parker last appeared with the ESO in February 2009.

Consistently cited for her brilliant technique, tonal beauty and superb musicianship, Edmonton-raised pianist Angela Cheng is one of Canada's brightest stars. She has appeared as soloist with virtually every orchestra in Canada, as well as the Birmingham Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, Utah Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic, among others. The frequency with which she is re-engaged is remarkable.

Ms. Cheng's debut recording of two Mozart concertos with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra received glowing reviews. Other CDs include Clara Schumann's Concerto in A Minor with JoAnn Falletta and the Women's Philharmonic (for Koch International); selected works of Clara and Robert Schumann, four Spanish concertos with Hans Graf and the Calgary Philharmonic, and both Shostakovich concertos with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Radio Orchestra (all for CBC). Angela Cheng was the 1986 Gold Medal winner at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition as well as the first Canadian to win the prestigious Montréal International Piano Competition (1988). In the same year, the Canada Council awarded Ms. Cheng its coveted Career Development Grant. For her outstanding interpretations of Mozart, she received the Medal of Excellence at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in 1991.

Ms. Cheng last appeared with the ESO in June 2007.

Michael Massey was born in England and emigrated to Canada in 1957. Studies at the University of Alberta earned him a Bachelor of Music degree and the gold medal in piano performance of the Western Board of Music. Following his graduation he spent two years studying at the Geneva Conservatory where he was unanimously awarded the "Premier Prix de Virtuosité." Mr. Massey has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Canada, England and Scotland. He has been the orchestral pianist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for over 25 years. Since 1977, he has been Music Director of the Edmonton Youth Orchestra program. In 1988 and 1996 Mr. Massey wrote and published The Canadian Repertoire Manual, a source book and analysis of Canadian music suitable for youth orchestras. In 2002, for his contribution to the cultural life of the city, Mr. Massey was inducted into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame as an Artist–Builder and also received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.

Mr. Massey last appeared as a soloist with the ESO in April 2009.

Under Music Director William Eddins’ charismatic and energetic direction, the Edmonton Symphony has attained a level of musicianship and profile in the community it has rarely achieved. He has conducted performances in nearly every subscription series the ESO has presented, as well as a wide variety of special concerts and galas.

Bill’s musical life began at age five when his parents bought a Wurlitzer Grand piano at a garage sale. He attended the Eastman School of Music, graduating at age eighteen, making him the youngest graduate in the history of the institution. He also studied conducting with Daniel Lewis at the University of Southern California. Previous positions include a five-year tenure as Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland) and as Resident Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Bill Eddins continues to pursue many varied interests, both personally and professionally. While conducting has been his principal pursuit, he continues to perform on piano in Edmonton and elsewhere. He recently built a state of the art recording studio and has begun work on a series of chamber music recordings. He blogs regularly on and has done a series of podcasts called Classical Connections available at

Committed to his leadership of the ESO, Mr. Eddins accepts a limited number of guest appearances elsewhere. He led a highly-acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess for Opéra de Lyon in June 2008, which he will reprise during the summer of 2010. His latest recording, of American music for Cello and Piano, has been released on the Naxos label.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Bill currently resides in Minneapolis with his wife Jen, a clarinetist, and their two boys, Raef and Riley.


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