Patricia Parr | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Patricia Parr

Patricia (Ann) Parr. Pianist, teacher, composer, b Toronto 10 Jun 1937; Artist Diploma (Curtis) 1957. She had her first lessons from her mother and studied piano 1942-51 with Mona Bates and composition 1949-51 with John Weinzweig.

Parr, Patricia

Patricia (Ann) Parr. Pianist, teacher, composer, b Toronto 10 Jun 1937; Artist Diploma (Curtis) 1957. She had her first lessons from her mother and studied piano 1942-51 with Mona Bates and composition 1949-51 with John Weinzweig. As Patsy Parr, not yet 10, she made her Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) debut 14 Mar 1947 in Haydn's Concerto in D and some of her own solo pieces. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in a pops concert with the New York Philharmonic in 1948 and her New York recital debut (Town Hall) in 1949. Also as a child she won Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada (CAPAC) scholarships for the piano pieces Nocturne and Song to an Indian. In 1951 she went to Philadelphia for studies at the Curtis Institute, where her teachers included Isabelle Vengerova 1951-7 and Rudolf Serkin (post-graduate study) 1957-9 for piano and Gian-Carlo Menotti and Bohuslav Martinu 1952-6 for composition.

By 1955 Parr had appeared nine times in the Promenade Symphony Concerts in Toronto, and in 1957 she made her first appearance in a TSO subscription concert, replacing Solomon in Beethoven's Concerto No. 3. Parr made many appearances with the TSO after 1947 and also appeared as soloist with the Edmonton, Montreal, and Winnipeg orchestras, and with the York Concert Society and the Toronto Philharmonic. She performed extensively throughout the USA and Canada and taught 1960-3 at the Cleveland Institute (where she was a member of the Concert Art Trio) and 1967-74 at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. In 1974 she returned to Toronto as a member of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, where she also founded and became administrator of the Faculty Artists Series of annual concerts in 1979. She remained on the University of Toronto faculty in 2010. She also began to teach at the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1982, and has acted as an adjudicator for the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Canada Council, and the Ontario Arts Council.

As Chamber Musician

An active and respected chamber musician in Canada and the USA, Parr was a founder in 1970 (with the violinist Charmion Gadd and the cellist Fritz Magg) of the US-based Trio Concertante (1970-9), which toured Australia in 1975 and 1979. In 1974 she became a founding member of the University Faculty Trio with the violinist Lorand Fenyves and the cellist Vladimir Orloff. Together with the cellist David Hetherington and the clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas, she formed the chamber ensemble Amici in 1986. Amici was appointed trio-in-residence at the University of Toronto in 1989. It toured the Atlantic provinces (1989) and Czechoslovakia and Poland (1990). Parr retired from Amici in 2008.


Parr has given many duo recitals in Toronto with instrumentalists such as Robert Aitken, James Campbell, Andrew Dawes, Daniel Domb, Rivka Golani, and Janos Starker. In 1980 in Toronto with Eugene Rittich, she premiered Morawetz'Sonata for Horn and Piano, a CBC commission. She appeared as guest pianist with the Guarneri Quartet in 1974 and 1976 at the St. Lawrence Centre, and several times with the Orford String Quartet. Following one such performance, Robert Everett-Green (Toronto Globe and Mail, 9 Dec 1989) described her playing as "poised, exact, expressive of feeling that was always informed with intelligence." Parr performed as soloist with the TSO, conducted by Mario Bernardi, in Beethoven's Fantasia in C minor, at the centennial celebrations of Massey Hall 14 Jun 1994.

For her contributions as chamber musician and pianist, Patricia Parr was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2010.


A Tribute to Leon Zuckert. Golani viola, Varjabed bar, Sharon soprano, Harnoy violoncello, Landry soprano. (1986). Jubal 5007

Morawetz Sonata for Horn and Piano. Rittich horn. 1980. 6-ACM 16

- The Weaver. DuBois tenor, Valdepeñas clarinet. (1989). Centrediscs CMC-CD-3589

Presenting Joaquin Valdepeñas: Morawetz Sonata - Debussy - Bernstein - et al. Valdepeñas clarinet. 1985. CBC Musica Viva MV-1016

See also Discographies for Fenyves and Golani

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