Praise for Parker Ramsay’s recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations:
“Remarkably special. We are immersed in a scene we know well indeed, a daily walk perhaps, but the friction in our footsteps is dissolved… Ramsay picks us up in gusts of loveliness and all is good once more: an excellent debut solo recording.” – Gramophone
“Nuanced, insightful playing. * * * * * ” – BBC Music Magazine
“A resounding success.” – The Independent
“Relentlessly beautiful.” – WQXR
“Marked by keen musical intelligence and richly colored sound.” – The Wall Street Journal
“Emotional, touching and elegant.” – Cleveland Classical
“A surprising and perfect interpretation.” – El Nuevo Herald
“A revelation.” – Winnipeg Free Press
Parker Ramsay’s career, unique in its integration of in contemporary music and historical performance, defies easy categorization. He is equally at home on modern and period harps, being dedicated to invigorating the existing canon while delving into new and underperformed works. In 2020, the recording of his transcription of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for the King’s College, Cambridge label was praised as “remarkably special” (Gramophone), “nuanced and insightful” (BBC Music Magazine), “relentlessly beautiful” (WQXR), “marked by keen musical intelligence” (The Wall Street Journal) and “a resounding success” (The Independent). His essay on the transcription process, “Is Bach Better on Harp?” was published in The New York Times, and followed up with further insights in VAN Magazine and on his blog, Harping On: Thoughts from a Recovering Organist.
In the 2021-22 season, he made is D.C. debut at Phillips Collection, premiering Omolu, a new solo work by Marcos Balter (commissioned by the Miller Theater at Columbia University), and his Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall, performing Mozart’s Double Concerto alongside flutist Emi Ferguson and the American Classical Orchestra. In April 2022, he gave the world premiere of The Street, a new concert-length work for solo harp by Nico Muhly (Two Boys, Marnie), with texts by Alice Goodman (Nixon in China, Death of Klinghoffer). He will perform the US premiere in his debut appearance at the Spoleto Festival this coming June.
Parker will undertake a residency at IRCAM in Paris throughout the 2022-3 season, working with composer Josh Levine on Anyway, a new solo work for harp and live electronics. He will also join forces with Latitude 49 to premiere a chamber concerto by Jared Miller, commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts. Other forthcoming commissions include works by Sarah Kirkland Snider, Matthew Ricketts, Alyssa Weinberg, Tom Morrison, Saad Haddad, Aida Shirazi and inti figgis-vizueta.
As an historical harpist, Parker also is co-director of A Golden Wire, a period instrument ensemble devoted to French and English music from the seventeenth century. He has appeared with the Shanghai Camerata, the Academy of Sacred Drama, Ruckus, Teatro Nuovo and Apollo’s Fire.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Parker began harp studies with his mother at a young age before moving to the UK at age 16. He served as organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge from 2010-13 under Stephen Cleobury. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in history at Cambridge, he pursued graduate studies in historical keyboards at Oberlin Conservatory. In 2014, he was awarded First Prize at the Sweelinck International Organ Competition. He then studied modern harp at The Juilliard School, under the tutelage of Nancy Allen. He lives in New York City.
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