Cellist Parry Karp is Artist-in Residence, and the Robert and Linda Graebner Professor of Chamber Music and Cello, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is director of the string chamber music program. He has been cellist of the Pro Arte Quartet for the past 45 years, the longest tenure of any member in the quartet’s over 100-year history.
Parry Karp is an active solo artist, performing numerous recitals annually in the United States with pianists Howard and Frances Karp, and Eli Kalman. Mr. Karp has played concerti throughout the United States and gave the first performance in Romania of Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo with the National Radio Orchestra in Bucharest in 2002.
He is active as a performer of new music and has performed in the premieres of dozens of works, many of which were written for him, including concerti, sonatas and chamber music. As a solo recording artist, he has recorded the solo cello works of Ernest Bloch, and works of Frank Bridge, Rebecca Clarke, Ernest Chausson, Edward Collins, Georges Enesco, John Ireland, Alberic Magnard, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Miklos Rosza, and Richard Strauss. Unearthing and performing unjustly neglected repertoire for cello is a passion of Mr. Karp’s. In recent years he has transcribed for cello many masterpieces written for other instruments. This project has included performances of all of the Duo Sonatas of Brahms, as well as compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Dvorak, Hindemith, Strauss, Schumann, Stravinsky and Szymanowski. He is presently in the process of transcribing all of the Beethoven Violin Sonatas for Cello. Parry Karp performs annually in summer music festivals throughout the United States.
As cellist of the Pro Arte Quartet he has performed over 1,000 concerts throughout North, Central and South America, Europe, and Japan. His discography with the group has been extensive and includes the complete string quartets of Ernest Bloch, Miklos Rosza, and Karol Szymanowski . Many of these recordings received awards from Fanfare and High Fidelity Magazines. Other composers whose string quartets or string quintets the Pro Arte Quartet has recorded during his tenure include: Beethoven, William Bolcom, Luís de Freitas Branco, Martin Boykan, Tamar Diesendruck, Dvorak, Brian Fennelly, John Harbison, Andrew Imbrie, Pierre Jalbert, Fred Lerdahl, Walter Mays, Benoit Mernier, Mendelssohn, Karol Rathaus, Samuel Rhodes, Roger Sessions, and Ralph Shapey. As a member of the Pro Arte Quartet he has recorded the Piano Quintets of Ernest Bloch, Johannes Brahms and Armando José Fernandes with pianist Howard Karp. Guest artists with the Pro Arte during his years have included: the Emerson Quartet, Denes Koromzay, Leon Fleischer, Sidney Harth, Nobuko Imai, Gunnar Johansen, Gilbert Kalish, Jerome Lowenthal, Robert Mann, Paul Schoenfield, Samuel Rhodes, Robert Silverman, Christopher Taylor, Laszlo Varga and Tamas Vasary. Gunther Schuller conducted the group in the premiere of his String Quartet Concerto which he wrote for the Pro Arte Quartet.
The Pro Arte Quartet was one of five finalists (the others were the Juilliard, Tokyo, and Emerson Quartets, and the Beaux Arts Trio) for the First Annual Arturo Toscanini Award in the Chamber Music Category.
Parry Karp’s chamber music discography outside of the Pro Arte Quartet includes the three piano trios of Joel Hoffman, as well as works of Britten, Fauré, Martinu, Mozart and Pierné. Mr. Karp had a visiting professorship at the University of British Columbia, and has been a visiting fellow at Princeton University. Former students of Mr. Karp’s are members of professional string quartets, major orchestras, and teachers in the United States. In 2012 he was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the spring of 2016, Parry Karp was named a fellow of the Wisconsin Academy.
Mr. Karp received early training in Vienna, Austria and studied cello with Lee Duckles, David Kadarauch, Peter Farrell, Gabriel Magyar and Gabor Rejto. Inspirational chamber music teachers included Gabriel Magyar, Howard Karp, Lorand Fenyves and Zoltan Szekely.