Parsons and Poole Concert and Masterclass

Photo credit: Hirotoshi Sato

2024 Parsons and Poole Concert and Masterclass featuring Dang Thai Son 

The Parsons and Poole Concert and Masterclass was created by alumni to honour Margaret Parsons and Clifford Poole, and to bring world-class musicianship to Western. Learn more

This year we are honoured to welcome internationally renowned pianist Dang Thai Son as the guest artist.

Joining us on campus for an in-person event? Visit our Audience Information webpage for useful tips, including directions and parking information.

Concert

Friday, September 20 | 7:30pm
von Kuster Hall
General admission: $40 in advance, $45 at the door (if available)
Students (with valid ID) and Seniors (55+): $15 in advance, $20 at the door (if available) 

Purchase tickets

Masterclass

Saturday, September 21 | 10am
von Kuster Hall
Free admission. No registration required. 


Parsons and Poole 2024

Dang Thai Son

Photo of Dang Thai Son Vietnamese-Canadian pianist Dang Thai Son was propelled to the forefront of the musical world in October 1980, when he was awarded the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Xth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. It was also the first time that a top international competition was won by an Asian pianist.

He began piano studies with his mother in Hanoi. Discovered by the Russian pianist Isaac Katz, who was on visit in Vietnam in 1974, he pursued his advanced training at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia with Vladimir Natanson and Dmitry Bashkirov.

Since winning the Chopin Competition, his international career has taken him to over forty countries, into such world renowned halls as the Lincoln Center (New York), Barbican Center (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Herculessaal (Munich), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Opera House (Sydney), and Suntory Hall (Tokyo).

He has played with numerous world-class orchestras such as The Philharmonia Orchestra , BBC Philharmonic , City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, St-Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal , Czech Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Dresden Philharmonic Oslo Philharmonic, Warsaw National Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, NHK Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Hungarian State Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Russian National Symphony, as well as Virtuosi of Moscow, Sinfonia Varsovia, Vienna Chamber, Zurich Chamber, Royal Swedish Chamber Orchestras, and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. Also, he has appeared under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Ashkenazy , Pinchas Zukerman, Mariss Jansons, Pavvo Jarvi, Ivan Fisher, Frans Bruggen, Vladimir Spivakov, Dimitri Kitaenko, Sakari Oramo and John Nelson among others.

In the field of chamber music, he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Octet, the Smetana String Quartet, Barry Tuckwell, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Pinchas Zukerman, Boris Belkin, Joseph Suk, Alexander Rudin, and he has played duo-piano with Andrei Gavrilov.

portrait of Dang Thai SonOther career highlights include a New Year's Day concert (1995) with Yo Yo Ma, Seiji Ozawa, Kathleen Battle, and the late Mstislav Rostropovich, in a major international event produced by the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation NHK; in January 1999, a Gala-concert opening the Chopin year, where he was the only foreign artist invited to appear as soloist with the Warsaw National Opera Theatre Orchestra; concerts in Isaac Stern's last festival in Miyazaki, Japan in 2001, which included three performances with Pinchas Zukerman; a special performance in 2005 as the only guest artist at the Opening Gala Concert of the XVth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he was also a member of the jury; and on Chopin's 200th Birthday, March 1st, 2010, he played at the Gala Concert the Concerto in f-minor with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under the direction of Frans Bruggen at the Warsaw National Opera Theatre.

Dang Thai Son is frequently invited to give master classes around the world - such as the special class in Berlin in October, 1999, where he taught alongside Murray Perahia and Vladimir Ashkenazy. He has sat on the juries of prestigious competitions such as the Warsaw International Chopin Piano Competition (2005, 2010, 2015, 2021), Cleveland (USA), Clara Haskil (Switzerland), Artur Rubinstein (Tel-Aviv), Hamamatsu, Sendai (Japan), Piano Masters of Monte Carlo, Sviatoslav Richter (Moscow), Prague Spring International, Montreal International Piano Competition, and Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition among others. His pupils garnered top international prizes including Bruce Liu, the most recent winner of the 2021 International Chopin Piano Competition 2021 in Warsaw, Poland.

...read more at dangthaison.net


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 and Poole Concert and Masterclass 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.

Read the feature article about the history of this series and the establishment of the endowed fund. (published in March 2022)


For donor-related inquiries, contact Allison Price at allison.price@uwo.ca

For event-related inquiries, contact musicevents@uwo.ca 


Past Parsons and Poole Performers

  • Yekwon Sunwoo, October 2023
  • Louise Bessette, October 2022
  • Jon Kimura Parker, October 2021
  • Marc-André Hamelin, October 2020
  • Stewart Goodyear, October 2019
  • Sara Davis Buechner, October 2018
  • 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