Friday, August 24, 2018

Wyatt Johnson Receives a Special Memorial Violin

Bob Bauer, Talent Trust scholarship recipient Wyatt Johnson, Adrian Hoffman.

On July 2, an unusual scholarship was presented to an emerging Nova Scotia musician. Wyatt Johnson (above, centre) received a violin that had been donated by Bob Bauer (left), in honour of Dr. Michael Parker, a well-respected violinist, teacher, and composer.

Doctor Michael Parker.
Dr. Michael Parker was born in Toronto and studied violin and viola at the Royal Conservatory of Music, in Banff and at Michigan State University. In 1976, he moved to Newfoundland where he served as Principal Violist with the Newfoundland Symphony, and was Professor of Classics and Historical Studies at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, where he taught courses in Music Appreciation and presented many musical events. He was a major figure in the music community in Newfoundland. 

Michael's music has been performed throughout Canada, and in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Cairo, France and the United States. He won prizes in national and provincial competitions, and a recording of his chamber music for clarinet, LYRE (1997), was nominated for an East Coast Music Award for Best Classical Album.

In 2007, Michael retired from MUN and relocated to Halifax, teaching classics part-time at St. Mary's and Dalhousie Universities. He shared his love of opera, at both Grenfell College and at Dal, through his "Sunday Night at the Opera," lectures that included screenings of opera productions from his collection.

Photo: Bob Bauer prepares to present Wyatt Johnson with his violin.
NSTT Past Chair Adrian Hoffman and Wyatt's dad look on.

Wyatt Johnson tries out his new violin.
Friend and musical collaborator Bob Bauer received Michael’s violin after he passed away in 2017. Bob approached Talent Trust board member and Past Chair Adrian Hoffman (who was also a friend of Michael’s) about donating the instrument to a student. After a few weeks of repairs, the Michael Parker memorial violin was ready.

The Talent Trust normally only grants financial scholarships and special awards, but given the nature of the gift, our jury gathered together to select a student who needed a violin, and 14-year-old Wyatt was chosen.

An official presentation will take place at our annual awards ceremony in December.

This story originally appeared in our August newsletter. Click here to subscribe!

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