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Daniel Parker’s Path to Juilliard via MIT

  • Nancy DuVergne Smith

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Want to know what’s new in the campus arts scene? The Arts at MIT blog will help you out there. A new post about senior Daniel Parker describes his journey to MIT via a gap year in Egypt and, after his graduation in June, to Julliard to earn a master’s in piano performance. Parker’s experience in Egypt whetted his interest in political science, one of several early interests at MIT before settling in as a music major.

His talent was recognized early and he was able to take private lessons, first in voice and then in piano, as an Emerson scholar and then a fellow. His solo recitals in MIT’s Killian Hall included a performance of the complete Book I of J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Preparing to play that body of work took two semesters, Parker says in the Arts at MIT blog post:

“That was musically a life-changing experience …. it made me fluent in that kind of contrapuntal language of the Baroque. And it also did wonders for my technique, because with Bach you’re playing multiple voices with your hand, so you have to have a lot of control over what is coming out when. It gave me a lot more maturity in terms of being able to memorize because it’s about two hours of nonstop music.”

He has won many awards and honors for his music—and his interests don’t stop there. He spent most of 2013 living in a Zen Buddhist monastery. “And for me the very reason that I’m interested in music is because it is a unique type of human communication that connects people emotionally and spiritually.”

And why did he choose MIT? It was Campus Preview Weekend: “I basically came and loved it better than any other place—the energy and creativity, especially the fact that students were organizing all of these things. It was really grassroots, and I liked the people I met.”

Watch Parker perform Chopin’s Nocturne in B Major at the Aspen Music Festival and School in 2015.

Sample the Arts at MIT blog:

Bursts of Light: Exploring the Multi-Strobe

Visiting artist Keith Ellenbogen, a photographer specializing in underwater imagery, revisited some of Doc Edgerton’s innovations, such as the use of the multi-strobe shot and advanced cameras, to engage students in capturing motion.


The Once and Future Library

Libraries are being transformed from physical repositories of print to digital doorways to knowledge as well as communal spaces and cultural storehouses. Find out what the MIT community is thinking about the future of libraries and hear from McDermott Award winner David Adjaye, a preeminent architect responding to the changing needs of libraries.

bioLogic’s Living Textile

A research team in MIT’s Tangible Media Group in the Media Lab, bioLogic, has created a completely new form of performance fabric that combines biomaterials research with textile design. An MIT Council for the Arts grant allowed the group  to bring together fashion and product designers to bring their project to a new artistic level.

You can subscribe to Arts at MIT for regular updates.

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