Inspiring performances, luminous sound and exceptional musicianship are the hallmarks of the Grammy-Award-winning Parker Quartet (Daniel Chong and Ying Xue, violins; Jessica Bodner, viola, Kee-Hyun Kim, cello). Renowned for their dynamic, compelling interpretations, expansive colors, and varied repertoire ranging from classical to romantic to new music, the group has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation. In demand worldwide, the quartet has appeared at distinguished venues, series and festivals throughout North and South America, Great Britain, Europe and South Korea since its founding in 2002.
Following fall performances that included concerts at Harvard as Blodgett Artists-in-Residence, and also at the University of South Carolina as part of their residency there, and recitals on The New Orleans Friends of Music and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society series, the second half of the Parker Quartet’s 2015-16 season features appearances abroad at Belgium’s Muziekcentrum de Bijloke, Germany’s Kulturverein Zorneding-Baldham, and The Virgin Islands’ The Forum. Nationally, in addition to the ensemble’s residency concerts in Massachusetts and South Carolina, performances include appearances with jazz pianist Billy Childs – on the Celebrity Series of Boston, the Flynn Center in Burlington, and at New York’s Jazz Standard, as well as concerts on New York’s Lincoln Center Great Performers series, at Boston’s Jordan Hall with the Weilerstein Duo, on North Carolina’s Duke Performances series with violist Kim Kashkashian, and at Arkansas’s Fowler Center featuring the work of Augusta Read Thomas.
Recent past performance highlights include the project ―Schubert Effect‖ in collaboration with pianist Shai Wosner at the 92nd Street Y, the premiere of a new string quartet by American composer Augusta Read Thomas as part of the quartet’s four-concert series at Harvard University, appearances at Carnegie Hall, Library of Congress, the Slee Series in Buffalo, Music Toronto, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, Music at Amherst, Monte Carlo Spring Festival, Seoul Arts Center, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele in Germany, and San Miguel de Allende Festival in Mexico. The Quartet also continues to be a strong supporter of violist Kim Kashkashian’s project Music for Food by participating in concerts throughout the United States for the benefit of various food banks and shelters.
In the recording arena, the Parker Quartet has distinguished itself with acclaimed recordings for Zig-Zag Territoires, Innova Records and Naxos. The quartet’s debut commercial recording of Bartok’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 5 for Zig-Zag Territoires (July 2007) came about as a result of winning the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition. Gramophone praised the ensemble: ―The Parkers’ Bartók spins the illusion of spontaneous improvisation… they have absorbed the language; they have the confidence to play freely with the music and the instinct to bring it off.‖ Their Naxos recording of György Ligeti’s complete works for string quartet won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance (the last string quartet to have won this category). In 2015, Innova Records released the world premiere recording of American composer Jeremy Gill’s ―Capriccio‖ written for the Quartet through a Chamber Music America commissioning grant. Upcoming releases include Augusta Read Thomas’s world premiere recording of Helix Spirals for string quartet on ―Of Being Is A Bird‖ for Nimbus Records (April 2016), and the ensemble’s own recording of Mendelssohn’s Quartets Op. 44, Nos. 1 and 3.
Recent collaborations include such acclaimed artists as violist Kim Kashkashian, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, pianists Anne-Marie McDermott and Shai Wosner, Kikuei Ikeda of the Tokyo String Quartet, clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann, and clarinetist Charles Neidich.
Founded and currently based in Boston, the Parker Quartet’s numerous honors include winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition, the Grand Prix and Mozart Prize at France’s Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition, and Chamber Music America’s prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award. Now Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University’s Department of Music, and also in residence at USC School of Music, the Quartet’s numerous residencies have included serving as Artists-in-Residence at the University of St. Thomas (2012–2014), Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Minnesota (2011–2012), Quartet-in-Residence with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (2008-2010), and as the first-ever Artists-in-Residence with Minnesota Public Radio (2009-2010).
The Parker Quartet’s members hold graduate degrees in performance and chamber music from the New England Conservatory of Music and were part of the New England Conservatory’s prestigious Professional String Quartet Training Program from 2006–2008. Some of their most influential mentors include the original members of the Cleveland Quartet, Kim Kashkashian, György Kurtág, and Rainer Schmidt.
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