At age 3, Parker Van Ostrand knew he wanted to play the piano, and pestered his parents for a full year before they bought him one.
“They were puzzled about how I came to know about the piano at such a young age, especially since no one in our family or extended family plays the piano,” he says.
It’s a good thing they paid attention to their persistent son.
One year after he began playing piano, at age 5, he won the gold medal at the American Association for the Development of the Gifted and Talented (AADGT) competition and was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. He has since returned to Carnegie Hall twice, and has also performed in various cities throughout the U.S., Japan, and Singapore. He was a finalist in the Mondavi Young Artist Competition in 2016, and currently studies with Linda Nakagawa and Natsuki Fukasawa.
On Jan. 29, Parker, 13, will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major with Symphony Parnassus at the Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco. “I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to perform with Symphony Parnassus. I hope the audience will enjoy the Beethoven as much as I do.”
Of the Beethoven, he says, “this piece is full of different characters, from charming at the beginning of the first movement to the beautiful melodies in the second movement to the lively dance in the third movement,” he said.
An 8th grader, Parker lives with his parents and two brothers in Sacramento, Calif. Though he was the first pianist in the family (one brother now plays, too), he wasn’t the first musician; his mom, Juliette Luong, studied cello at Eastman School of Music.
In addition to playing the piano, Parker enjoys running and runs for his school’s track team as well as the Pacific Racers Athletic Association. In the summer of 2016, he participated in the Junior Olympics. He also enjoys painting and learning Japanese.