Ian Parker reunites with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra March 6-8. (Submitted Photo)

Ian Parker reunites with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra March 6-8. (Submitted Photo)

Old Friends return to Okanagan Symphony stage

OSO marks 60th anniversary with Masterworks series in Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon

In full stride of its 60th anniversary season, some old friends are reuniting with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.

The Orchestra and Music Director Rosemary Thomson have announced Old Friends, the next performances in the O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars Masterworks series. Featuring charismatic pianist Ian Parker, these shows will not only welcome back OSO friend Parker to the stage, they will feature the beautiful works of Haydn and Brahms: two composers who could be considered kindred spirits, albeit across the centuries.

The show goes Friday, March 6 at the Kelowna Community Theatre at 7:30 p.m. (Kelowna Tickets 250-862-2867), March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Penticton Cleland Theatre (Kelowna Tickets 888-974-9170) and finally March 8 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre at 7 p.m. (Ticket Seller 250-549-7469).

“I adore sharing the stage with Ian Parker. There is a reason he is an audience favourite. It’s because he shares so much of himself through his musical performances,” said Thomson. “Plus, he is so darn fun we laugh ourselves silly during rehearsals. Audiences just can’t help falling in love with him.”

Guest artist Parker has appeared with top orchestras across Canada and the U.S, and recorded with the London Symphony and the CBC Radio Orchestra.

In addition to his work at the keyboard, Parker acts as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the VAM Symphony Orchestra at the Vancouver Academy of Music. Working with some of Canada’s most promising young orchestral players, he programs and conducts four concerts per season in Vancouver’s historic Orpheum Theatre.

Parker is also a member of the formidable Parker Piano Dynasty. His late father Edward taught literally thousands of students over decades in Vancouver. And his cousins, Jon Kimura (Jackie) Parker and Jamie Parker have both performed on the OSO stages over the years. All three currently enjoy international careers.

Featured on the evening’s program are two rich symphonic works: Haydn’s Symphony No. 103 in E flat major – a favourite for audiences since its premiere in 1795 – and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn. Parker will take the stage to perform Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor.

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