The music on this CD spans much of Liszt's compositional life and dwells, in particular, on his inspirations from the natural beauty of Italy and the creations of its people. The impulse here is not the pyrotechnical display that characterizes much of his piano music. It is the passionate, intimate, and often broody musings of an artist looking forward, then looking back, on a prolific career.
Années de pèlerinage III, S. 163: Sursum corda 3:15
Total Playing Time: 1:16:31
Since his orchestral debut at age 12, Derek Parsons has performed for appreciative audiences in a career spanning four decades. Critics have hailed him as “a wonderfully sensitive musical artist” “…[displaying] extraordinary technique” (The Brantford Expositor), and “…in total command” (The Evening Telegram). His performances have been described as “…a drama of epic proportions” (The Evening Telegram), and of his recordings, “the range of colors is impressive…” (American Record Guide). Active as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and collaborative artist, he has performed throughout the United States, in Canada, Spain, Italy, and China, and has been heard on South Carolina Educational Television, South Carolina Educational Radio, and CBC Radio and Television in Canada. His repertoire encompasses a wide spectrum of styles, genres, and periods. Since joining the faculty of Furman University in 1988, he has performed concerti of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, and Gershwin with several local and regional ensembles.
Parsons has devoted a large part of his musical career to the study of the piano music of Franz Liszt. He has performed virtually the complete cycle of the Années de pèlerinage in major centers throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe and Asia. Among those performances are offerings of the entire Swiss book, and the entire Italian book, in single concerts.
Parsons has been a member of The Ambassador Duo with saxophonist Clifford Leaman for over 20 years. Their performance repertoire ranges from early transcriptions to the most avant-garde original works for the ensemble. They have performed several world premieres of new works and their critically acclaimed recordings are also available on the Equilibrium label.
While in South Carolina, Dr. Parsons has enjoyed a long and productive association with the South Carolina Music Teachers’ Association. He has given performances on several SCMTA conference programs, and has held many officer positions within the organization, including his current position of Past President. In addition to his teaching duties at Furman, Dr. Parsons serves as Director of the Furman University Summer Keyboard Institute. He is best known in the Greenville area for his annual performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at Furman's Concerts by the Lake series.
Parsons holds degrees and diplomas in Performance Studies from the University of Western Ontario, the University of Michigan, and Trinity College of Music, England. His major teachers have included Charles Fisher, Theodore Lettvin, Ronald Turini, and Martin Katz.