Concert Pianist and Composer Starr Parodi came Center Stage with Mark Gordon to talk about her latest project “The Heart of Frida,” the highly anticipated follow up to her debut solo piano album, “Common Places.”
The interview was originally broadcast Tuesday, September 27, 2016 on KXLU Los Angeles, 88.9 FM.
Honored as Solo Piano Album of the Year in 2008 (solopianoradio.com), Common Places, was lauded by KCRW’s grammy nominated host Chris Douridas. “This deeply passionate and beautiful recording (Common Places) is one of the best albums of the year.” The Heart of Frida is quickly finding praise with reviewers such as New Age Music Review’s, Keith Hannaleck: “Solo piano music does not get much better than The Heart of Frida, and I could not say it any more succinctly than that. This is clarity of vision and inspiration brought to your ears, heart and spirit through the fingers of Starr Parodi. Surely this recording will be receiving more accolades then I could possibly give it. If there is such a thing as musical perfection, then this is as close as it gets”
At the heart of Starr’s creativity is the piano. When she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and lays her hands on the keys of her 1928 Steinway B, she brings music into the realm of an existential prayer and a transcendent journey and breathes new life into the form of neo-classical & new age motifs transforming them into deeply evocative improvisations. As a Steinway Concert & Recording Artist, Starr has recorded or performed with a treasured array of artists that span both genre and time (including Carole King, Liz Story, Stevie Wonder, Phil Keaggy, Jimmy Cliff, Seal, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Al Green, KOZM, Mavis Staples, Carlos Santana, Patti LaBelle), all of whom have added to the deeply treasured experiences, and inspiration that Starr draws from every time she sits at the piano to compose, play or improvise. Starr is also currently performing in concert as a solo piano artist throughout North America and Europe. “It gives me great joy to connect with a live audience and it is a constant adventure to draw upon the energy that exists in that situation, to improvise, experience and create something new for each concert”.
Center Stage with Mark Gordon airs Tuesdays at 7PM (PST) on KXLU Los Angeles, 88.9 FM and streaming at kxlu.com
Since Starr’s breakout work on the iconic recording/arrangement of the James Bond Theme (RIAA Gold Record), Starr has been finding an artistic balance between the worlds of scoring, recording, producing/arranging, conducting and live performance. “There is a common thread in all these mediums that is so satisfying and inspiring, and my vision is to create a visceral experience for the listener in all that I do.
After being originally hired to be a ghostwriter on several of network televisions leading dramatic series at just 20 years of age, Starr, with her scoring partner Jeff Eden Fair, built on that experience and later became a major artistic force in the world of theatrical film trailers and featurettes, scoring and giving a voice to hundreds of Hollywood’s most visible film trailers (James Bond, Mission Impossible 2, The Peanuts Movie, Harry Potter, Dream Girls, The Last Samurai, A Night At The Museum, X-Men 3, The Last Holiday, War of the Worlds, etc…). With their reinvention of the modern James Bond Theme, their music has been given credit for helping to form and recreate the modern action film trailer as it exists today. (Forbes – April 2015) Each summer, Starr is a featured composer in residence, and her live orchestral work is a focal point in the renowned Pageant of the Masters at the Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach.
Los Angeles has always been Starr’s home and it’s rich multi-cultural environment is also a source from which she draws upon to inspire her creations. As a trailblazing young woman, She became and continues to be a member of LA’s vibrant film and television scoring scene, having hundreds of episodes of TV, films, film trailers and live orchestral works to her credit. As a teen, Starr’s natural musical gifts became apparent and she was invited to study music at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Beyond her formal classical training, Parodi is heavily influenced by the cinematic themes she that fell in love with by masters such as Ennio Morricone and Jerry Goldsmith, as well as the unique mix of orchestral textures and jazz in Miles Davis and Gil Evans extraordinary “Sketches of Spain”. Starr found these influences key to helping her discover new approaches to her connection with pop and soul music as well. After Interlochen, Starr soon found herself playing piano and keyboards in various gospel and soul bands, teaming up with members of Earth Wind & Fire, The Temptations, and Parliament Funkadelic. It was Starr’s edgy funk laced work that caught the attention of comedian Arsenio Hall who invited her to play keyboards on his groundbreaking late night hit, The Arsenio Hall Show, in the show’s dynamic house band “The Posse”. This garnered the young musician national recognition and led to her performance at the Kennedy Center for the Inauguration of President Clinton, as well as being a featured artist along with keyboard legends Bruce Hornsby, George Duke & Joe Zawinul at Keyboard Magazine’s 20th anniversary concert (celebrating 20 top contemporary keyboardists).
Starr has created the musical landscape and character for hundreds of episodes of Television series — The Starter Wife (Debra Messing), Transformers: Rescue Bots (Tim Curry, LeVar Burton), GI Joe: Renegades (Lee Majors), The Division (Jon Hamm, Taraji Henson), and numerous award winning films: Bert Stern: Original Madman, Conversations With Other Women (Helena Bonham Carter/Aaron Eckhart), New Line Cinema’s High Roller (Michael Imperioli, Michael Nouri), Rysher’s The 18th Angel (Stanley Tucci, Christopher McDonald). “Perhaps one of the best measures of a successful film score is when it becomes one with all the elements of a film, where the viewer cannot imagine “that image” without “that music.” Starr and Jeff achieved that magical mix and we are grateful.” – Greg McClatchy – producer (Bert Stern:Original Madman)
“If you listen closely, you can hear the ghosts in her music.” – RJ Lannan, Zone Music Reporter
For more information about Starr and her projects please visit starrparodi.com
Starr will be playing a special CD release concert at the Moss Theater In Santa Monica on Saturday eve, Oct 1 at 8pm and will be joined by special guests – aerial artists – Sarah & Karyne Steben (formerly of Cirque du Soleil) and vocalist/recording artist Louis Price (Former lead singer of the Temptations)