Dennis Parker was born in New York City and began his cello studies at the age of six. He received his early training with Channing Robbins of the Juilliard School, and later earned degrees from Indiana University and Yale University, where he worked with Janos Starker and Aldo Parisot, respectively. Inspired by a variety of musical activity, Parker performs frequently as a soloist, recitalist, collaborator, and guest professor at universities and festivals throughout the U.S. He is actively involved in the expansion of the existing cello repertoire and has transcribed many works for his instrument. A Haymon Professor of Music, Parker has taught Cello and String Chamber Music at the Louisiana State University School of Music since 1988. Prior to his tenure at LSU, Parker served as Principal Cellist of the Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and was a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
A committed pedagogue, Parker released a DVD and instructional manual, the “Popper Manifesto” in 2002. This project remains the first and only complete recorded performance of David Popper’s “High School of Cello Playing.” Parker’s CDs with the Centaur label include Cello Matters, which features music for cello and piano by Liduino Pitombeira, Daniel Schnyder, David Baker, and Astor Piazzolla, and Uplifting Discoveries from a Generation Lost, a recording of chamber music by composers who perished in the Holocaust (Erwin Schulhoff, Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullmann and Hans Krasa).Homage to Fiddlers, a recording of Russian composer/pianist Ivan Sokolov’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, Piano Trio, and Duos for Cello and Violin by Viktor Kalabis and Jan Vicar, with violinist Karen Bentley Pollick, was released in 2010 by Ariel Ventures.
A few years ago, Parker was a recipient of an ATLAS grant (Awards To Louisiana Artists and Scholars) from the Louisiana Board of Regents. Through its generous support, he completed three independent recording projects. Parker’s transcriptions of Mozart's “Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major” K219, and “Sinfonia Concertante in Eb for Violin and Viola” K364 is the first recording of these works adapted as Cello Concerti. Concurrent with the CD’s release is the publication of editions of Parker’s transcriptions. The second CD featured the entire cello output of distinguished Brazilian composer, Walter BurleMarx. Parker gave the world premiere of his Cello Concerto in 2006 in Brasilia with the Brazilian National Orchestra, its U.S. premiere in 2009 with the L.S.U. Symphony, and in January 2013 the work was premiered in Turkey with the Istanbul State Orchestra. The third CD, Stolen Sonatas showcases three more of Mr. Parker’s transcriptions with pianist, Jennifer Hayghe: Debussy’s Sonata for Violin, Poulenc’s Sonata for Flute, and Enesco’s Sonata No.3 for Violin and Piano.
Parker maintains an active touring and performing schedule. The past few seasons have taken him from New York’s Weill Hall, to Brazil, China, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Czech Republic, Spain, Hungary, and many universities across the U.S.. This past summer, he was soloist in Nanjing, China (Haydn Concerto in C), in Porto Alegre Brazil (Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, in Sao Paulo, Brazil with the Burle Marx Cello Concerto and with the Oregon Coast Music Festival, performing Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo.