Pianist Ian Parker brings his classical talent, and a handful of musical friends, to the Kay Meek Centre for a Ukraine benefit concert on May 29. The performance features an assortment of classical music pieces from Bach, Saint-Saens, Brahms and Schumann, that were either composed or arranged for a more intimate chamber group. The net proceeds of the event will go directly to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine
“We’re not doing this for the money, as there’s no pay. So we’re doing this because we want to make music that can maybe do something much more powerful than what finances can do,” says Parker.
Having seen and heard about the continued pain that Ukrainians face, and the growing trend of benefit concerts towards Ukraine’s relief, Parker was inspired, especially by his classical musician peers, to do his part in helping out.
“I’m not a huge Facebook person, but the few times I go on Facebook, I see someone else putting on another concert for relieving the pain of war in Ukraine,” says Parker. “A lot of us are trying to find a way that we can somehow give back or provide some sense
For this upcoming benefit concert, Parker has brought in his own talents as a long-time classical pianist, as well as a handful of other musicians with expertise in various strings and horns. And while Parker himself has more experience as a soloist, he’s excited for this concert to come together, with other talented musicians, to perform as a cohesive group.
“I’ve been a soloist my whole life. And as much as I love what I do, I find it so much more gratifying to communicate with other musicians in concert, on stage and in performance,” says Parker. “So I absolutely love the music because we’re not alone. We’re making music together and we’re doing it without communicating in a verbal language.”
How music can help
For Parker, it was important the music worked to the strengths of the group performing for this concert: a group with strong virtuosic ability and instrumental flexibility, but a relatively smaller group nonetheless. Working from there, Parker wanted the concert to sound perseverant and triumphant, hoping to match the spirit and cause the concert itself is benefitting.
“There’s a lot of triumphant purpose to this concert. Very exciting, very emotionally driven, but you’ll be finished with a very uplifted soul I promise. This music is some of the most gratifying music that’s been written,”
As moving as music can be, it can be difficult to measure the impact of music itself. So Parker is somewhat tentative but hopeful about the impact concerts like these can have on the
“I don’t want to sound cheesy, but hopefully some kind of musical message may alleviate some of the kind of dictator mentality,” says Parker. “Sometimes when you expose enough of this kind of beauty and friendship to these radical types, they sometimes see that there’s actually a human on the other side of the fence.”
In addition to the relief provided by the concert proceeds itself, Parker hopes the performance itself can bring a sense of hope and relief to those affected by the war, or any of those whose hearts are close to Ukraine.
“One of my favourite comments from after a concert, from an audience member, was saying to their partner next to them, ‘Don’t you find that that’s the medicine we all need?’ So I find it to be our way of prescribing some sense of relief, either for those who are from the Ukraine who are here, or who have Ukrainian heritage who are here,” says Parker.
For more information about the concert, visit kaymeek.com/events