Chamber music rockets “Off the Score” with drummer/composer Stewart Copeland & pianist Jon Kimura Parker’s all-star quintet

01.27.15

“Off the Score” is a sizzling performance collaboration between drum legend Stewart Copeland (The Police), visionary pianist Jon Kimura Parker, Met Opera violinist Yoon Kwon, rising star bassist Marlon Martinez and champion of the Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI) Judd Miller. New works by Copeland and Parker collide with renditions of Stravinsky, Ravel, Piazzolla and Aphex Twin for an inspiring look at a musical universe that shines beyond genre. The North American tour kicks off on Friday, March 6, 2015 in Austin, Texas.  

Most famous as the founder and drummer of The Police, Stewart Copeland is a rock legend who has established himself as a major symphonic composer, earning commissions from Covent Garden, the Cleveland Opera, Virginia Arts Festival, the San Francisco Ballet, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and the Pittsburgh and Dallas Symphonies, among others. 

On this program called “Off the Score,” commissioned by the University of Texas at Austin and set to tour North America this spring, Copeland teams up with another musical iconoclast, the concert pianist Jon Kimura “Jackie” Parker. Together they perform original chamber works and amp up some of the great pieces from the classical canon including Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G and Piazzolla’s Oblivion. Add in jazz pianist Mike Garson’s Paganini Variations and a wild arrangement of an Aphex Twin tune and the annihilation of genre is complete!

To realize their vision, Copeland and Parker have enlisted three other free-minded music stars: violinist Yoon Kwon, who plays for the prestigious Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and shines with rock swagger when she gets the chance to rise from the pit and plug in; double bassist Marlon Martinez, a Stanley Clarke protégé who gets his kicks equally from Mahler and Mingus; and Judd Miller, the Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI) virtuoso who can summon an entire wind section with his singular breath. 

The driving force behind “Off the Score” is the exploration of the intersection of the notes on the page—‘the bible’ in the classical world—with the improvisational instincts of the rock and jazz musician. It is the rare classical musician that can improvise, as it is the rare rock musician who reads music. Here, all of these musicians can do both!  

Using his typical self-effacing wit, Copeland describes the program as half originals and half “classics written by composers long dead enough so that they won’t rise from their graves.” But audiences will surely rise to their feet during Parker’s white hot arrangement of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which the Toronto Star claimed “single-handedly advanced global warming” when performed as a solo work on his unanimously praised CD Rite and which injects large doses of primitive scandal back into Stravinsky’s now canonic warhorse. 

 

“Off the Score” Tour Dates

March 6, 2015 Austin, TX (University of Texas at Austin)

March 8, 2015 Rohnert Park, CA (Sonoma State University)

March 25, 2015 Lawrence, KS (University of Kansas)

March 27, 2015 Indianapolis, IN (Butler University)

March 28, 2015 Sewanee, TN (Sewanee: The University of the South)

 

About the Artists
There are few musicians who have worked in as many distinct settings as the legendary drummer and composer, Stewart Copeland. As the founding member of his seminal proto-punk band The Police, Stewart has certainly mastered the stadium rock genre, most recently in a global reunion tour in 2007 and 2008. But after his work with The Police paused in 1984, Stewart wrote the music for Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumblefish and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, which was the beginning of a long and much lauded career composing for film and TV. Now commissioned by the likes of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Cleveland Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and the Symphony Orchestras of Seattle and Dallas to composer operas and symphonic scores. Stewart has immersed himself in the “serious music” world. Most recently, his work Gamelan D’Drum was premiered by the Dallas Symphony in 2011, with his intense new score to the silent era masterpiece Ben Hur unveiled on Easter weekend 2014 at the Virginia Arts Festival and reprised by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in October 2014.

A veteran of the international concert stage, Jon Kimura Parker has performed as guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch in Carnegie Hall, toured Europe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Andre Previn, and shared the stage with Jessye Norman at Berlin’s Philharmonie. He performs as duo partner regularly with James Ehnes, Lynn Harrell, Orli Shaham, and Cho-Liang Lin, with whom he has given world premieres of sonatas by Paul Schoenfield, John Harbison and Steven Stucky. An unusually versatile artist, Mr. Parker has also jammed with Audra McDonald, Bobby McFerrin and Doc Severinsen. As a member of the outreach project Piano Plus, Mr. Parker toured remote areas including the Canadian Arctic, performing classical music and rock’n’roll on everything from upright pianos to electronic keyboards. An active media personality, Mr. Parker hosted the television series Whole Notes on Bravo! and CBC Radio’s Up and Coming. A committed educator, Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

Yoon Kwon began her professional career in 1993 as a thirteen-year-old, youngest winner in the history of the New Jersey Symphony Young Artists Auditions joining the roster of IMG Artists, alongside such artists as Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell. She has since concertized extensively as soloist with major orchestras and in recitals and chamber music appearances with distinguished musicians. Today, still only in her mid-twenties, Yoon Kwon is a seasoned artist with a remarkable and excitingly versatile career. In addition to her solo appearances, she is currently the youngest first violinist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, a member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two, and the lead violinist of her own jazz ensemble, Emergence, appearing regularly in New York City's jazz clubs.

Marlon Martinez is a versatile double bassist from Southern California. He is currently a Bachelor's degree candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where he studies with Peter Lloyd. An avid orchestral musician, Marlon has performed for conductors such as Yehuda Gilad, Gerard Schwarz, Bramwell Tovey, James Conlon, Giancarlo Guerrero, Sir Neville Marriner and Gustavo Dudamel. He serves as the co-principal bassist of the American Youth Symphony orchestra conducted by maestro Alexander Treger, and is a substitute bassist for the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Marlon is also a jazz aficionado, composer and performer, and has been studying improvisation with renowned bassist and composer Stanley Clarke, since February 2006.

Judd Miller has performed on numerous big budget movie soundtracks and with the world's top recording artists. He is a renowned, leading exponent of the EVI (electronic valve instrument). His expertise on the instrument and his superlative sound design from his enormous, self-created sound design library has him as first call, and one of the most popular musicians, for top run movie scores. He can be found around the world working on movies and recordings with top composers and orchestras in London, New York, Berlin, and of course his native Los Angeles. His work with composers Maurice Jarre, Stewart Copeland, Joel McNeely, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, John Williams, James Horner, etc., can be heard on countless, well-known movie soundtracks. His programming and sound design skills are also well known in the jazz world including ongoing collaborations with such artists as the Yellowjackets, Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Vince Mendoza, David Goldblatt and many more.