He announces his retirement from the concert stage during annual awards program
Pepperdine University Distinguished Professor of Music and world renowned American classical guitarist Christopher Parkening recently was inducted into the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) Hall of Fame. He was named a recipient of the GFA’s “Artistic Achievement Award” which is given to performers who have made “monumental contributions to the development of the art and life of the classical guitar.”
In accepting the award during the Guitar Foundation’s annual convention in Charleston, South Carolina, Parkening announced, “I have chosen this time and place to share with you what for me is a rather difficult announcement. After nearly five decades as a concert guitarist, the time has come for me to step away from the concert stage.” He added, “I would like to focus more on my family and on my commitment to teaching my students at Pepperdine University and in master classes throughout the country, sharing my insights and experiences—both musical and personal—as I mentor young artists.”
He concluded his remarks by saying, “I am grateful to all of those who have had important roles in my life and career. Through the years I have tried to play my guitar for the purpose as defined by J. S. Bach who said, ‘Soli Deo Gloria,’ ‘To God, alone the glory.'”
Parkening holds the Christopher Parkening Chair in Classical Guitar at Pepperdine. In addition, he is artistic director of the triennial Parkening International Guitar Competition.
He is celebrated as one of the world’s preeminent virtuosos of the classical guitar. For almost a half century his concerts and recordings have received the highest worldwide acclaim. The Washington Post cited his stature as “the leading guitar virtuoso of our day, combining profound musical insight with complete technical mastery of his instrument.”
Recently, The Metropolitan Museum in New York took possession of one of Christopher Parkening’s recording and performing Ramirez guitars, and it is a part of their instrument collection along with the legendary Spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia’s epic Hauser guitar.
Christopher Parkening, his wife, Theresa, and their son, Luke live in Malibu.