Christopher Parkening

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Christopher Parkening
Christopher Parkening 1975 USC Bovard Auditorium MHW046.jpg
Parkening performing in concert at USC's Bovard Auditorium, 1975
Background information
Born (1947-12-14) December 14, 1947 (age 68)
Los Angeles, California
Genres classical
Instruments classical guitar

Christopher Parkening (born December 14, 1947) is an American classical guitarist. He holds the Chair of Classical Guitar at Pepperdine University under the title Distinguished Professor of Music.


Parkening was born in Los Angeles, California. His cousin Jack Marshall, a studio musician active in the 1960s, introduced Parkening to the recordings of Andrés Segovia when he was 11 and encouraged his classical guitar studies. By the age of 19 he had embarked on a professional career of regular touring and recording.[1]

Segovia has stated that, "Christopher Parkening is a great artist—-he is one of the most brilliant guitarists in the world."[1][2]

At age 30, Parkening withdrew from public performances and recording seeking a respite from the demands of a professional career and a chance to pursue his hobby of flyfishing. During this period Parkening rarely played guitar choosing instead to focus his attention on his Montana ranch and trout stream. While visiting his Southern California home in winter; a neighbor invited Parkening to the Grace Community Church. Profoundly affected by this experience Parkening[3] returned to recording and performing with a renewed sense of purpose. He then released Simple Gifts, an album of traditional Christian hymns arranged for classical guitar. His autobiography Grace Like a River was published in 2006.[4]

Star in honor of Parkening, on the sidewalk outside the Ellen Theater in Bozeman, Montana

Parkening has recorded extensively for Angel and EMI Classics. He has been nominated twice for a Grammy Award. Notable recordings include Parkening Plays Vivaldi featuring a selection of Baroque concertos, Pleasures of Their Company with soprano Kathleen Battle, produced by Patti Laursen and nominated for the 1986 Classical Record of the Year Grammy Award as well as the world premiere recording of Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.[5]

As an educator, Parkening has been instrumental in cementing the guitar's reputation and esteem within academia. He created the guitar department at the University of Southern California in 1969, when he was only 22, and he was serving as the head of the department when he first retired from public performance at age 30.[6] During his famous sabbatical from the guitar, spent mostly fly-fishing in Montana, he agreed to found a guitar department at Montana State University, and he did what he terms a "token" amount of teaching at MSU during this time.[6] He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music from Montana State University in 1983.[7] He is currently Distinguished Professor of Music and Chair in Classical Guitar at Pepperdine University, where, in addition to his work with guitar majors, he also teaches a public master class. As of 2013, Parkening has said that he is retired from the concert stage and is focused on his family and teaching.[8]

Christopher Parkening lives with his family in Southern California.[citation needed]

Partial discography[edit]


  • The Christopher Parkening Album, Angel S-36069
  • In the Classic Style—Bach, Angel S-36019
  • In the Spanish Style—Albéniz, Angel S-36020
  • Parkening Plays Bach, Angel S-36041
  • Romanza, Angel S-36021


  • Christopher Parkening—A Bach Celebration with Ron Ravenscroft and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (1990), EMI Classics ASIN-B000002RNL
  • Christopher Parkening Plays Bach (1990), EMI Classics ASIN-B000002RNJ
  • Christopher Parkening with David Brandon—Virtuoso Duets (1990), Angel ASIN-B000002RQ9
  • In the Spanish Style/Christopher Parkening (1990), EMI Classics ASIN-B000002RNK
  • Pleasures of Their Company with Kathleen Battle (1990), EMI Classics ASIN-B000002RNM
  • Simple Gifts (1990), Angel ASIN-B000002SJJ
  • A Tribute to Segovia (1991), Capitol ASIN-B000002RQ8
  • Artistry of Christopher Parkening (1993), EMI Classics ASIN-B000002RTK
  • The Great Recordings—By America's Preeminent Guitar Virtuoso (1993), EMI Classics ASIN-B000002RTR
  • Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez; Walton: 5 Bagatelles with Andrew Litton and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1993), EMI Classics ASIN-B000002RT5
  • Christopher Parkening Plays Vivaldi Guitar Concertos & Warlock Capriol Suite (1994), EMI Classics ASIN-B000002RU3
  • Angel's Glory with Kathleen Battle (1996), Angel ASIN-B0000029TS
  • Celebrates Segovia (1998), EMI Classics ASIN-B00000AGKF
  • Elmer Bernstein—Concerto for Guitar—E. Bernstein—Albeniz—Marshall (2000), EMI Classics ASIN-B00004ZDLL
  • Grace Like A River (2006), Angel ASIN-B000F2CAN8
  • Christopher Parkening Collection (2 CDs), Musical Heritage Society ASIN-B000B5GPA8
  • 100 Best Guitar (6 CDs)(2008) EMI Classics


  1. ^ a b Chappell, Jon; Mark Phillips (2009). Classical Guitar for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. p. 297. ISBN 978-0-470-46470-0. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  2. ^ Stevenson, Joseph. "Biography: Christopher Parkening". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
  3. ^ Parkening, Christopher, and Kathy Tyers. Grace like a River. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2006. Print. p. 153.
  4. ^ Parkening, Christopher, and Kathy Tyers. Grace like a River. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2006. Print. Whole book.
  5. ^ "Christopher Parkening Official Website". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  6. ^ a b "Classical Guitar Alive! Interviews". Retrieved 2015-07-08. 
  7. ^ "Meet the Faculty". Retrieved 2015-07-08. 
  8. ^ "Master Guitarist Christopher Parkening on Segovia, Guitars, God and Fly Fishing". Guitar International Magazine. Retrieved 2015-07-08. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]