Musician Spotlight: Donna Parkes

My musical adventures began at the age of nine when I discovered my instrument—the trombone. Growing up in Canberra, Australia, I was incredibly fortunate to attend a school with a wonderful instrumental music program. My older sister already played trumpet, which meant the options were down to the French horn and the trombone; for me, the choice was an easy one. The trombone sound has always fascinated me—so much like the human voice—and one that I still love creating. I quickly realized the importance of practice, allowing me to play with many bands and ensembles. I am still grateful for the incredible teachers I had in my formative years that set me on a journey of truly valuing the art of making music.

Playing trombone was my way to connect with other musicians and audiences and explore the world. I finished my undergraduate degree in Australia and moved to Chicago for grad school at DePaul
University. Living abroad opened up amazing opportunities like the New World Symphony in Miami. I loved moving to different parts of the United States to perform—particularly with the San Francisco
Symphony and the Utah Symphony. My career has meant performing in places as diverse as Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland, the Sydney Opera House and even Doha in the Middle East.

Even when there was no common language or culture the bridge of music has allowed me to connect with both musicians and audiences across the world. The magic of being a musician is that you have this ability to share art anywhere with anyone, and I will never take that for granted.

Joining the Louisville orchestra in 2008, I had no idea just how much I would come to appreciate this city and the orchestral musicians with whom I share this stage. My other passion is running, and Louisville has the most beautiful city parks. I have run eight marathons, including the Boston Marathon. The solitude of a long run gives me the same sense of calm that a long trombone practice session does.
Running and music are a great combination for me— challenging me to see how much I can grow and improve. Despite my give-away accent, I consider myself a local and am proud of the role the
Louisville Orchestra plays in our community. Whether it is a performance at a homeless shelter or a visit to a class of 4th graders, I have the unique privilege of connecting with the people of
Louisville through music.

Supporting the arts makes our community thrive and our sense of connection stronger. Thank you for being here as such an integral part of the Louisville Orchestra family and enjoy the performance!


Read Donna’s official bio here: