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The Father of the Classical Guitar, Christopher Parkening was, is and will be the role model for all young upcoming guitarists. Hailed by The Washington Post as the leading guitar virtuoso of our day, combining profound musical insight with complete technical mastery of his instrument, Christopher Parkening is technical expertise amalgamated into mastery with the classical guitar personified.
Christopher Parkening is a great artist - he is one of the most brilliant guitarists in the world. The Los Angeles Times further states: Parkening is considered Americas reigning classical guitarist, carrying the torch of his mentor, the late Andres Segovia.
Born December 14, 1947, Christopher Parkening is the classical virtuoso guitarist America has produced till date. He was introduced to the guitar at the age of 11 by his cousin Jack Marshall who introduced Parkening to Andres Segovia recordings. Christopher Parkening, his wife, Theresa, and their son are residents of 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.
Parkenings technical expertise combined with his love for music turns a simple instrument - the guitar- into something that has a life of its own and it is Parkenings this extraordinary ability that has captured audiences around the world. Consequently, he has performed at the White House, paired with Placido Domingo on Live from Lincoln Center, participated in Carnegie Halls 100th Anniversary celebration and performed twice on the internationally televised Grammy Awards.
Parkening has also graced 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, Joaqu?n Rodrigo, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and has also premiered their new concert works in an effort to highlight the guitar and capture new audiences.
Parkening was acknowledged as Best Classical Guitarist in the nationwide readers poll of Guitar Player Magazine for numerous consecutive years; he was placed in their Gallery of Greats along with Andres Segovia and English guitarists John Williams and Julian Bream.
Parkening 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, collaboration with soprano Kathleen Battle.
He has also received acclamations for his dedication and exquisite talent with the guitar, 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 Americas preeminent virtuoso of the classical guitar.
In addition, Parkening was given the acclaimed American Academy of Achievement for 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 Societys Distinguished Artist Award for 2003 presented at the Ford Honors Program at the University of Michigan.
Parkening was recently named a Distinguished Professor of Music and has chaired the Christopher Parkening Chair in Classical Guitar since the fall of 2002 at the Pepperdine University. 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.
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 versions and arrangements, are published by Hal Leonard Corporation. Parkening has also authored his own autobiography, Grace Like a River, which was published by Tyndale House Publishers, Chicago, IL.
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 career has taken him all over the country with regular appearances in New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Houston and Los Angeles. Most recently, he has been sited 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.
In 1996, Parkening and Battle paired together another time around to record a Christmas album titled Angels Glory for Sony Classical. The year 1998 witnessed the release of a multi-media CD titled Christopher Parkening Celebrates Segovia. In October of 2000, EMI debuted his recording of Elmer Bernsteins Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra with the London Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein conducting.
Other recordings include the orchestral recording of Joaquin Rodrigos Concierto de Aranjuez and Fantasia para un gentilhombre (that won critical appraise) and the world premiere recording of Waltons 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 Parkenings 25th year as a recording artist with Angel/EMI Classics, a 2-CD collection, The Great Recordings, was premiered in celebration of his creative originality.
In March of 2007, Angel/EMI released a new album on which Christopher Parkening maintained his long collaboration with baritone Jubilant Sykes, recording some favorites of the many pieces they have performed together over the last fifteen years.
Parkenings commitment to music extends beyond his demanding performance schedule. June 2006 witnessed the launch of the Parkening International Guitar Competition, honoring Parkenings lifetime commitment to nurturing musical excellence in upcoming 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 organized every four years at Pepperdine University, where Parkening was recently named a Distinguished Professor of Music.