On November 3, 2017, the Miami community lost arguably one of its most remarkable champions and advocates of the arts. Parker Thomson left behind a lasting legacy that will serve and benefit generations.
Thomson was a visionary and relentless community leader behind many monumental initiatives, including the creation of the Adrienne Arsht Center. But his interests were never about the fame or the spotlight. He simply believed in the transformative power of arts and followed that belief throughout his life.
In 2008, this very principle led Thomson to join Maestro James Judd, former Music Director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, to become one of the Founding Board Members of the Miami Music Project, a local nonprofit dedicated to social change through music. “Parker has established an enduring legacy and touched the lives of so many, especially those privileged to call him a friend,” said James Judd, the Founder of Miami Music Project. “While his contributions have made an immeasurable impact on both the cultural and civic life of Miami, it is his vision, humanity, humor and rock solid principles that I carry with me.”
To honor Parker’s life and inspire current and future generations of children who so often were an inspiration to him, Miami Music Project is creating a new program within its programmatic offerings, a Student Conducting Fellowship, which will be personally overseen by Judd. Each year one young musician will be chosen as a Student Conducting Fellow, and will receive year-round conducting lessons and masterclasses, mentorship by James Judd, a chance to conduct a live orchestra during MMP’s Season Finale Concert, and additional coaching opportunities through existing organizational partnerships.
“Every good conductor needs to possess leadership qualities,” said the Executive Director of Miami Music Project, Anna Pietraszko. “In addition to musical development, the Student Conducting Fellowship program will provide additional leadership development opportunities. Parker was a humble but powerful believer in arts education and its power to transform communities,” added Pietraszko. “He loved our children and loved seeing them get their first instruments and see them blossom and grow in music and in life. Now we have a chance to carry his legacy as a fierce community leader, developing our youth into future leaders of our community.”