Joe of all trades, master of all.

Joe Parinya

Hello, I am Joe Parinya. I am first and foremost the artistic director of the Bangkok Young Pianists' Concerto Competition (BYPCC) and the music director of the Bangkok Modern Ensemble (BME), a new-music ensemble based in Bangkok, Thailand. I enjoy American neo-tonal works, starting with the minimalists and many afterwards, including John Adams, Mason Bates, the Bang on a Can composers, and New York-based youngsters such as Nico Muhly, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. I also take pleasure in compositions by Asian American composers, particularly Chen Yi's Sparkle (1992) and Narong Prangcharoen's Sattha (2005). With the BYPCC and BME, I have mastered organizational skills to run rehearsals, concerts, and events. 


Although an advocate of new music, I am also well versed in standard orchestral repertoire, from Brahms to Bartók, from Mozart to Mahler, and from Schubert to Stravinsky. The second movement of Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Op. 56 has long held a special place in my heart. All my conducting skills are credited to Robert Olson and Michael Palmer, who trained me at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (doctorate, 2011-14) and Georgia State University (master's, 2008-10), respectively. The former taught me to express and cherish every musical moment; the latter shaped my conducting formula that combined Bruno Walter's lyricism and George Szell's rhythmic precision.


For the BME, I not only conduct but also arrange and orchestrate music. I have transformed musical score of standard repertoire that originally asks for 40-70 players to 10-12 players. Examples of my arrangements include Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1, and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2. But you may ask, isn't the BME specializing in new music? With that, I answer: with new orchestrations and arrangements, we breathe new lives and new sound to these old works, and as a result, they present another form of new music. Additionally, for my own fulfillment, I arrange Thai worship music for violin and piano, as well as for piano solo.


Although I was a composition major in my college years (2004-8 at the College of Music, Mahidol University, Thailand), I no longer compose classical music. Instead, I consider myself a songwriter. Thai worship songs make up most of my collection.


Prior to all these conducting and composing activities, I was trained as a flutist. I played flute in a school band (in the Assumption College Band in Bangkok, Thailand) from the fifth grade until my sophomore year (in the Mahidol Wind Symphony, also in Thailand). It has been a while since then, and I am missing the feeling of being inside the orchestra. My plan is to pick up the flute again this upcoming fall when I join the Detroit Community Ensemble. 


I also sing. I am a member of the tenor section of the UMS (University Music Society) Choral Union in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Despite the singers' amateur backgrounds, the UMS Choral Union performs professional repertoire with major orchestras, including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Verdi's Requiem with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. The proudest moment of my experience with the UMS was singing Bernstein's Third Symphony with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. 


I was born in Bangkok, Thailand to a family of Chinese descent. I am currently living in Ann Arbor, Michigan with my wife, a Ph.D. candidate in historical musicology at the University of Michigan, and son, Silas. Besides classical music, my passions are stock-market investing and cooking (particularly Thai comfort food). In my leisure time, I enjoy reading, cooking for my wife, and writing blogs about investment, self-reflection, Thai cooking, and the classical music world. You can read my writings at

(Photo credit: Kreerath Sunittramat 2018)