- String Quartet
Currently, The Parker Quartet is in its second season as Quartet-in-Residence with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO). In addition, they are the first-ever Artists-in-Residence with Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and American Public Media (APM). This unprecedented residency for the 2009-2010 season includes performance and interview broadcasts on Performance Today and Classical FM, live chamber concerts in St. Paul, and live regional concerts and educational residencies as part of MPR’s Troubadour Concert Series throughout Minnesota and the surrounding states. The Quartet’s experiences and activities for the residency will be shared with MPR/APM listeners through video and audio interviews, blogging, and interactive web technology. The residency will also include a national Quartet Competition organized by MPR/APM, culminating in a master class and studio performance with the Parker Quartet.
Performance highlights from the Quartet’s 2009 international summer tours included appearances at the Festival Internacional de Inverno de Campos do Jordao in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Festival du Perigord Noir in France, and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele in Germany. Domestic concert appearances for the 2009-2010 season include performances at Market Square Concerts, the Collins Center for the Arts, the Schubert Club, the Hancher Auditorium Series, the Library of Congress, the Chamber Music Society of Logan, the University of Georgia at Athens, and the Detroit Chamber Music Society.
Successful early concert touring in Europe helped the Quartet forge a relationship with Zig-Zag Territoires, which released the Quartet’s debut commercial recording of Bartok’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 5 in July 2007. The disc received high praise by numerous critics including Gramophone: “The Parkers’ Bartok 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 second recording, of Ligeti’s String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 and Andante & Allegretto, was released in December 2009.
The Parker Quartet has been profiled in Time Out NY, The Boston Globe, Chamber Music Magazine, and on Musical America.com for their pioneering performances for audiences in non-traditional venues. In addition to concerts in bars and clubs nationwide, the ensemble was the first String Quartet in Residence at Barbes Bar and Performance Space in Brooklyn, NY, in 2007. The residency embraced a series of collaborative concerts with artists of various genres including Jazz, Folk, and World Music.
The Quartet spends a great deal of time each year working with young musicians through educational residency activities. In addition to its ongoing work through the SPCO’s CONNECT music education program, the group has served as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center and the ensemble-in-residence at the Yellow Barn Music School and Festival.
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 NEC's prestigious Professional String Quartet Training Program.
When asked about the origin of the ensemble name, Kee-Hyun Kim explains:
"We are named after the Omni Parker House, in Boston. We all came from different places (Dan from L.A., Karen from Wisconsin, Jess from Houston and myself from Seoul, Korea) [and] when we first met it seemed fitting to choose a name that was such a landmark of Boston. The Parker House is not only the oldest Hotel in Boston, it is the longest-running hotel in the U.S., and was made a landmark in 1855. It's also the home to the creation of the Boston cream pie and Parker House rolls. Literary greats used to assemble there, including Hawthorne, Longfellow, and Emerson."