Parsons and Poole

janina fialkowskaPhoto: © Peter Schaaf

Featuring pianist Janina Fialkowska

It has become October’s hot ticket in London: the Parsons and Poole Legacy Concert. Created by alumni to honour Margaret Parsons and Clifford Poole, the Friday concert and Saturday masterclass brings world-class musicianship to Western’s campus.

This year we are honoured to welcome internationally renowned pianist Janina Fialkowska as the guest artist.

Parsons & Poole Legacy Concert

Date: Friday, October 5, 2018
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College
Cost: $40 general admission, $15 students/seniors (ticket prices TBC)
Tickets: Will go on sale by July 2018.

Planned Program

Mozart's Sonata in A minor K310; Robert Schumann's Fantasiestuecke Opus 12; Ravel's Jeux d'eau; Chopin's 2nd Ballade in F major Opus 38, 3 Mazurkas opus 50, and Fantaisie in F minor Opus 49. (Program subject to change.)

Masterclass with Janina Fialkowska with piano students from the Don Wright Faculty of Music

Date: Saturday, October 6, 2018
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Paul Davenport Theatre
Admission: Free (no registration or advance purchase required)

About Janina Fialkowska:

For over 40 years, concert pianist Janina Fialkowska has enchanted audiences and critics around the world. She has been praised for her musical integrity, her refreshing natural approach and her unique piano sound thus becoming “one of the Grandes Dames of piano playing” (Frankfurter Allgemeine, 2015).

Born in Canada, she began her piano studies with her mother at age 4 continuing on in her native Montreal with Yvonne Hubert. In Paris she studied with Yvonne Lefébure and in New York at the Juilliard School with Sascha Gorodnitzki, experiencing the best of both French and Russian piano traditions. Her career was launched in 1974, when the legendary Arthur Rubinstein became her mentor after her prize-winning performance at his inaugural Master Piano Competition, calling her a “born Chopin interpreter” laying the foundation for her lifelong identification with this composer.

Since then she has performed with the foremost orchestras worldwide under the baton of such conductors as Zubin Mehta, Bernard Haitink, Lorin Maazel, Sir Georg Solti, Sir Roger Norrington and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, to name one of the younger generation. She has won special recognition for a series of important premieres, notably Liszt’s newly discovered Third Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony and several contemporary piano concertos. Ms Fialkowska's discography includes many award-winning discs, e.g. the BBC Music Magazine’s 2013 “Instrumental CD of the Year" award.

Her native Canada has bestowed upon her their highest honors: “Officer of the Order of Canada”, the “Governor General’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award in Classical Music” (Canada's equivalent to the US Kennedy Centre Awards), as well as three honorary doctorates. She passes on her wide musical experience in master classes and at her annual “International Piano Academy” in Bavaria, where she now resides and makes frequent appearances as a juror of the world's most prestigious piano competitions.

2016 marked her 65th birthday which she celebrated by giving a year-long “Birthday Celebration Tour" extending into 2017, performing several times in England, Germany and Poland, but also in Japan, Spain, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Wales, Northern Ireland and a great many concerts in her native Canada. 2017 also saw Janina Fialkowska on the jury of such prestigious international piano competitions as the Van Cliburn (Fort Worth, Texas), the Maj Lind competition (Helsinki, Finland), the Liszt competition (Utrecht, Netherlands) and as vice chair of the Rubinstein competition jury in Israel. Highlights of the new season will be performances in the UK with the Royal Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Swan and in the US on the Van Cliburn Master Series.

Margaret Parsons and Clifford Poole

Glamorous, talented and world-famous, the husband and wife pianists were not typical professors at Western in the 1950s. Margaret Parsons and Clifford Poole balanced performance tours as a piano duo with teaching and inspiring young musicians. They also recorded their work, created educational materials and started the Gilbert & Sullivan productions still going strong in London today.

They came to London in 1948 to teach at the Western Ontario Music Conservatory, Music Teachers' College and Department of Music at Western. Already well known, the pair joined the staff two years after Alfred Rose, Gustav Mahler’s nephew. Over the next few years, the three organizations evolved, each focusing on a different level of music education. As J.R.W. Gwynne-Timothy wrote in his Western’s First Century: “The concerts of the well-known piano duo, Clifford Poole and his wife Margaret Parsons, carried far and wide the name of music at Western as public relations emissaries for the college.”

A group of alumnae who studied with Parsons and Poole created an artist-in-residence program, called the Parsons-Poole Legacy Project to carry their names into the future.  The project gives students an opportunity to study with musicians who bring the same level of acclaim and expertise as Parsons and Poole.

The benefits of the Parsons-Poole Legacy Project will go beyond the music faculty, providing opportunities for inter-disciplinary scholarship and cultural enrichment for the community. This is a fitting continuation of the kind of projects the duo undertook while in London. They composed and arranged piano music for young players, and their Parsons-Poole Festival Piano Series and Poole’s many pedagogical piano pieces remain favourites. The pair also established a community concert series and toured to many Ontario towns and cities, often with students to showcase their talents and gain experience in performing.

Past Parsons and Poole Legacy Concert Performers

  • Charles Richard-Hamelin, October 2017
  • John O'Conor, October 2016
  • Anagnoson and Kinton, piano duo, October 2015
  • Angela Hewitt, October 2014
  • Menahem Pressler, October 2013
  • Andre LaPlante, October 2012