Robert Parker

Robert W. Parker is a prizewinning, critically acclaimed composer and performer, who has been called "a modern-day Vaughn Williams" by distinguished composers and "a delight" by the press from Connecticut to California. His compositions have been heard in churches, on concert stages, and in arts festivals all around the world. He has performed for Presidential inaugurations, appeared on stages throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and Japan, and has been seen (and heard) on both national and international television.

He began his musical career in the black-cassocked Boy Choir of Pasadena Presbyterian Church, but his first paying job as an organist was playing a Hammond organ for a small church that met in the YMCA. He continued his musical education at Yale University, where he studied choral conducting from Jon Bailey at the Institute of Sacred Music, percussion from Metropolitan Opera timpanist Fred Hinger and Hong Kong Philharmonic percussionist Patrick W. Smith, and composition from Tony-Award-winning composer Maury Yeston; by the conclusion of his studies there, he had earned a bachelors degree from Yale College and a masters degree from the Yale School of Music. After sojourning briefly in the world of Information Technology as a technical writer and as a speaker for international conferences on technical communications, he left the fields of industry and returned to his first love, music. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Claremont Graduate University, where he studied performance practice with Roland Jackson and musicology from Nancy van Deusen.

Dr. Parker was named the inaugural recipient of the Robert J. Flanagan Yale Bands Commissioning Endowment, a fund directed to the commissioning and premiering of music for concert band to ensure that the Yale Band’s exemplary and long-standing tradition of commissioning the worlds’ greatest composers will remain an active and important part of the program in perpetuity. The composition he created for that commission, Sicut Incipiat ("Thus, let it begin"), is now part of the repertoire performed at Yale's annual commencement exercises. The Cathedral Center of Los Angeles commissioned Dr. Parker to compose the ordination anthem for the Very Reverend Jon Bruno as the sixth Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles. Dr. Parker has received commissions from such diverse groups as the California Chamber Singers, the Rude Guerrilla Theater Company, and the Theater Arts program at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He has created works for collegiate, religious, and professional choruses; brass band, orchestra, and concert band; and has composed soundtracks for animation, melodrama, and silent films.

As an organist and conductor, Dr. Parker has performed for a wide range of denominations: Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and even Religious Science/Science of Mind. He has presented papers before the College Music Society and the California Association of Independent Schools, has written articles for The American Organist, and is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). He is currently on the faculty of Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada Flintridge, California, and he is affiliated as a composer and performer with Oneonta Congregational Church in South Pasadena, California.

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