Christopher Parkening is celebrated as one of the world's preeminent virtuosos of the classical guitar. For more than a quarter century, his concerts and recordings have received the highest worldwide acclaim. The Washington Post cited his stature as "the leading guitar virtuoso of our day, combining profound musical insight with complete technical mastery of his instrument." Parkening is recognized as heir to the legacy of the great Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia, who proclaimed that "Christopher Parkening is a great artist. One of the most brilliant guitarists in the world." The Los Angeles Times has noted: "Parkening is considered America's reigning classical guitarist, carrying the torch of his mentor, the late
Parkening's rare combination of dramatic virtuosity, eloquent musicianship and uniquely beautiful sound has captivated audiences around the world. He has performed at the White House, appeared with Placido Domingo on Live from Lincoln Center, participated in Carnegie Hall's 100th Anniversary celebration and performed twice on the internationally televised Grammy Awards. Parkening has appeared on many nationally broadcast television programs, including The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, The Today Show and 20/20. He has collaborated with composers John Williams, Elmer Bernstein, Joaquin Rodrigo, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and premiered their new concert works in a effort to keep the guitar in the musical forefront. Parkening was acknowledged as "Best Classical Guitarist" in the nationwide readers' poll of Guitar Player Magazine for many consecutive years, he was placed in their Gallery of Greats along with Andres Segovia and English guitarists John Williams and Julian Bream.
Parkening has been guest soloist with the finest orchestras in the United States, including the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, the Chicago, Pittsburgh, and National Symphony Orchestras, the Detroit, Houston, Oregon, and St. Louis symphonies, the St. Paul and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. His extensive recital schedule takes him throughout the country, with regular appearances in New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Houston and Los Angeles. Recent performance highlights include appearances at the National Gallery with soprano Renee Fleming, Royal Albert Hall in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and with John Williams and the Boston Pops in a nationally televised broadcast for PBS.
Parkening has amassed an extensive discography on Angel/EMI Classics. He is the recipient of two Grammy nominations in the category of Best Classical Recording for Parkening and the Guitar and The Pleasures of Their Company, a collaboration with soprano Kathleen Battle. In October of 2000, EMI debuted his recording of Elmer Bernstein's Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra with the London Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein conducting. In 1998 a multi-media CD was released, Christopher Parkening Celebrates Segovia. In 1996, Parkening and Battle combined their talents once again to record a Christmas album titled Angels' Glory for Sony Classical. Other recordings include the critically acclaimed orchestral recording of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez and Fantasia para un gentilhombre and the world premiere recording of Walton's Five Bagatelles for Guitar and Orchestra, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; and Parkening Plays Vivaldi, which features a selection of Baroque concertos coupled with the world premiere recording of Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite with The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In honor of Parkening's 25th year as a recording artist with Angel/EMI Classics, a 2-CD collection, The Great Recordings, was issued in celebration of his prolific artistry. In February of 2007, Angel/EMI will release a new album on which Mr. Parkening continues his long collaboration with baritone Jubilant Sykes, recording some favorites of the many pieces they have performed together over the last fifteen years.
For the 2006/07 season, Christopher Parkening's national tour recital program, Masterworks of the Guitar, will feature his favorite works by composers Joaquen Rodrigo, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Stanley Myers, Andrew York, Leo Brouwer, and Carlo Domeniconi. Mr. Parkening also will offer a Holiday recital program in November and December with baritone Jubilant Sykes, in addition to their Spanish-American program. As well as playing many of the most popular works for guitar and orchestra, Mr. Parkening continues to perform the highly acclaimed Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, written for him by renowned film composer Elmer Bernstein.
Parkening's commitment to music extends beyond his demanding performance schedule. June 2006 saw the launch of the Parkening International Guitar Competition, honoring Parkening's lifetime commitment to fostering musical excellence in young artists. The Parkening International Guitar Competition features performers from around the world and offers the largest prize purse of any guitar competition worldwide. The competition will be held every four years at Pepperdine University, where Mr. Parkening was recently named a Distinguished Professor of Music and has chaired the Christopher Parkening Chair in Classical Guitar since the fall of 2002. He also teaches an annual summer master class at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, where the university celebrated his 30th annual master class in July 2004. Mr. Parkening has authored The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method, Volumes I and II, basic pedagogy books for beginning and advanced players. These editions, along with his collection of guitar transcriptions and arrangements, are published by Hal Leonard Corporation. In the summer of 2006, his autobiography, Grace Like a River, was published by Tyndale House Publishers, Chicago, IL.
Parkening has received commendations honoring his dedication and artistry, including an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Montana State University and the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Southern California "in recognition of his outstanding international achievement and in tribute to his stature throughout the world as America's preeminent virtuoso of the classical guitar." In addition, Parkening was given the acclaimed American Academy of Achievementfor excellence in the field of music both nationally and internationally. Parkening was also presented with the 2000 Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Classical Guitarist. Recently, Parkening received the University Musical Society's "Distinguished Artist Award" for 2003 presented at the Ford Honors Program at the University of Michigan.
Christopher Parkening, his wife, Theresa, and their son reside in Southern California. At the heart of his dedication to performance, recording, and teaching is a deep commitment to the Christian faith. He is also a world class fly-fishing and casting champion who has won the International Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament (the Wimbledon of fly-fishing) held in Islamorada, Florida.
Christopher Parkening & Jubilant Sykes: Jubilation on EMI Classics. One of the world's preeminent virtuosos of the classical guitar meets one of the world's most versatile and distinctive singers for a musical journey through Brazil, Spain, and the America. Christopher Parkening is celebrated as one of the world's preeminent virtuosos of the classical guitar. For more than a quarter century, his concerts and recordings have received the highest worldwide acclaim. Lauded in the Wall Street Journal as one of "the next major stars," and drawing on classical, gospel and jazz influences, Jubilant Sykes has won the attention and respect of the world's finest musicians. Jubilation is what happens when two artists of this caliber get together.
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Crossover Media Projects with: Christopher Parkening