Principal Trombonist in the Louisville Orchestra since 2008, Australian Donna Parkes came to the US after college, first studying with Charlie Vernon and playing with the renown training orchestra, the Chicago Civic. From there, she went on to perform under Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas as a member of the New World Symphony, and was then offered a permanent position in the Virginia Symphony. She has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Oregon Symphony, National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
In 2009, she also accepted the Principal Trombone position at the Colorado Music Festival.
In addition to her incredible accomplishments as an orchestral trombonist, Parkes is also passionate about music education. In 2019, she received a Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service, for her work at the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy, in her adopted town of Louisville. Parkes describes the students she works with at the Academy:
“These children have a very different relationship with sound. Some of them have just received cochlear implants. They’re just starting to understand what sound is and what it means to them in their world.”
Using the trombone as her teaching medium, Parkes helps kids to discover the meaning of sound in new and engaging ways.
Donna also performs chamber music with her orchestral colleagues, and is a frequent visitor to local schools, You can see more about her work with kids in the video below. Inspiring!