• Professor of Piano; Director, Furman Summer Keyboard Institute
  • 864.294.2099
  • Daniel Music Building, Room 119
  • derek.parsons@furman.edu
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From his orchestral debut at age 12, Derek Parsons has been performing for appreciative audiences in a career that has spanned four decades.  Critics have hailed him as “a wonderfully sensitive musical artist” “…[exhibiting] extraordinary technique” (The Brantford Expositor) and his performances, “…a drama of epic proportions”,  “…in total command” (The Evening Telegram), and “the range of colors is impressive…” (American Record Guide).  Active as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and collaborative artist, he has performed throughout the United States, in Canada, Spain, Italy, and China, and has been heard on South Carolina Educational Television, South Carolina Educational Radio, and CBC Radio and Television in Canada. His repertoire encompasses a wide spectrum of styles, genres, and periods.  Since joining the faculty of Furman University in 1988, he has performed concerti of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, and Gershwin with several local and regional ensembles.

Dr. Parsons holds degrees and diplomas in Performance Studies from the University of Western Ontario, the University of Michigan, and Trinity College of Music, England.   His major teachers have included Charles Fisher, Theodore Lettvin, Ronald Turini, and Martin Katz.

An avid proponent of the music of Franz Liszt, in 2014 Dr. Parsons was granted a sabbatical leave, his third sabbatical focusing on the piano works of that composer.  His recent concert schedule has featured some of these works, culminating in a performance at the 50th Anniversary Conference of the American Liszt Society in June, 2014, as well as a new solo compact disc, released during the summer of 2015.   He has continued his association with the American Liszt Society, as a featured performer in the 2016 ALS Festival in Los Angeles, CA. 

While in South Carolina, Dr. Parsons has enjoyed a long and productive association with the South Carolina Music Teachers’ Association.  He has given performances on several SCMTA conference programs, and has held many officer positions within the organization, including President of the organization from 2010-2012.  In addition to his teaching duties at Furman, Dr. Parsons serves as Director of the Furman University Summer Keyboard Institute. 

Dr. Parsons has enjoyed collaborating with both singers and instrumentalists over the years, performing with artists such as Elizabeth Bishop and Donald Sinta.  For 20 years he was a member of The Ambassador Duo, with saxophonist Clifford Leaman.  Their critically-acclaimed recordings are available under the Equilibrium label. 

He is best known in the Greenville area for his annual performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at Furman's Concerts by the Lake series.

Name Title Description

MUS-077

Collaborative Piano

MUS-111

Basic Musicianship I

Introduction to music fundamentals, basic principles of voice leading, and harmonic progression through development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.

MUS-111C

Basic Musicianship I: Keyboard

Introduction to music fundamentals, basic principles of voice leading, and harmonic progression through development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.

MUS-112

Basic Musicianship II

Ongoing study of voice leading, diatonic harmony, basic modulation, and small forms through continued development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.

MUS-112C

Bsc Musicianship II: Keyboard

Ongoing study of voice leading, diatonic harmony, basic modulation, and small forms through continued development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.

MUS-211

Basic Musicianship III

Ongoing study of voice leading, chromatic harmony, advanced modulation, and small forms through continued development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.

MUS-211C

Bsc Musicianship III: Keyboar

Ongoing study of voice leading, chromatic harmony, advanced modulation, and small forms through continued development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.

MUS-212

Basic Musicianship IV

Overview of large musical forms and of contemporary compositional techniques through continued development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.

MUS-212C

Bsc Musicianship IV: Keyboard

MUS-421

Histry & Lit of the Instrument

A comprehensive study of the development of a specific instrument and a survey of the music written for it. Topics will include music written originally for the medium as well as modern developments in musical variety

MUS-451

Piano Pedagogy

Designed for pianists to better understand the process of teaching piano. Learning theories, various piano methods, appropriate literature, and laboratory application, developing teaching skills for the piano.

Students have unique musical traits based on their own personalities and experiences. My job is to recognize and cultivate those traits to help students develop their own individual identity. By helping students discover who they are, they learn to develop their own understanding of the works they are studying, and a level of confidence with their interpretations.

Education
M.M.
University of Michigan
D.M.A.
University of Michigan
B.M.
University of Western Ontario
A.T.C.L.
Trinity College
Training Under
Charles Fisher, Theodore Lettvin, Louis Nagel, Benning Dexter, and Martin Katz
University of Michigan
Ronald Turini and Peter Smith
University of Western Ontario
Cecile Ousset, Guido Agosti, Ivan Morovec and Joanne Smith
Independent studies

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