Every so often MT poses 60 questions to a local or visiting artist in Toronto who has made our classical music community that much more interesting. They pick and choose. The minimum response is 20 answers. A kind of Rorschach personality test, if you will.
Jon Kimura Parker is one of Canada’s most cherished ambassadors of music. With a seemingly endless supply of enthusiasm for both Classical and Jazz, he has performed all over the world as both a respected soloist and competent chamber musician.
What are three things that Toronto doesn’t have but should?
A backstage bar for the musicians! All the London halls have them. (Otherwise, I don’t know the city well enough to know…)
Default drink/cocktail of choice?
Bombay Sapphire martini, with a twist. Or any first growth Bordeaux from a good vintage.
Your role models?
Oscar Peterson. (Because of his joy, and endless pursuit of the highest standard.)
Steve Jobs. (Because his ethos and his creations have actually changed my life.)
Your favourite sound?
The first big ‘E’ chord in Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon”.
Your least favourite sound?
Whatever alarm I’ve set on my iPhone to wake me up. I have to change it frequently so that I won’t work the familiar one into my dreams and then ignore it.
The historical personalities, both good and bad, that fascinate you the most?
I’ve developed a strange interest in Alexander Hamilton, although I’m guessing he didn’t actually rap.
If you could board a plane this afternoon, where would it be taking you?
Singapore. But I only say that because my friend Daniel Ching from the Miro Quartet, is boarding a flight to Singapore right now as a United mileage run to get to 1K status (100,000 flying miles in a year) and only plans to be there for 24 hours, to hear a concert and sample the local cuisine. I’m already at 90K on the year but would love to join him!
Book that you read that made an impact on you in your formative years?
The Wind in the Willows.
The strangest talent that you possess?
Playing the first page of the Prokofiev Toccata for left hand alone; it’s actually written for both left and right.
The different career path that you could have gone on?
I can’t imagine anything unmusical. I have an endless interest in rock music, so I could see myself playing in a band, but then I’d have to keep my hair really long which seems like a nuisance.
What is the best thing about your work?
It’s music. Everything is great about my work! Of course, it’s also people, which is why I prefer concertos and chamber music over solo recitals.
What is the worst thing about your work?
Worrying about a memory slip.
The talent that you wish you possessed?
A consistent golf swing would be nice.
What are you listening to as you answer these questions?
What musical instrument do you secretly long to play?
The thing that makes you the happiest?
Being on Orcas Island with no rehearsals or concerts on the agenda.
The thing that makes you the angriest?
Indifference to high standards.
Three pieces, songs, or arias that you could listen to on repeat for an hour?
Beethoven “Pastoral Symphony”; Monks chanting “Om”; Elton John “Good bye Yellow Brick Road”.