Born: June 2, 1828, Boston, Massachusetts.
Died: November 27, 1916, Brookline, Massachusetts.
Buried: Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Parker graduated from Harvard College and prepared himself for the profession of law, but his intense love of music conquered everything else.
After studying in Boston, he went to Leipzig, Germany, where he studied under the masters and quickly became a proficient composer and performer.
He returned to Boston in 1854, and soon took a leading position in the musical community there. In 1862, he organized the Parker Club, an amateur vocalist association that performed works such as Niels Gade’s Comala, Mendelssohn’s Walpurgis Night, Berlioz’ Flight into Egypt, Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri and Pilgrimage of the Rose.
As of 1886, Parker was organist at Boston’s Trinity Church and taught organ, piano, and harmony. He also played organ for the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, and was a professor at the College of Music associated with Boston University. He composed his Redemption Hymn (words from Isaiah 51) in 1877, for solo contralto and chorus. It was first performed by the Handel and Haydn Society, and subsequently by musical societies all over America.