site stats
Long Island glasspiel virtuoso Gloria Parker still has the magic touch |

Long Island glasspiel virtuoso Gloria Parker still has the magic touch

FOR GLORIA PARKER, one of her 28 musical glasses is always half-full.

The vaudeville veteran endures as one of the world’s last masters of the glasspiel, a collection of dinnerware turned into an improbable instrument — and played with a wet finger.


The silver-haired Parker learned the art of the musical glasses from her grandfather, a Czech immigrant who taught her using an eight-glass set.

“I was about 8 when he taught me to play them with a fingertip around the rim of the glass,” she recalls in the living room of her Long Island home.

Parker eventually expanded her repertoire to include 28 crystal wine glasses. Each is meticulously filled with water to a very specific level, ensuring the perfect tone.

“One drop either way makes a difference,” she advises. “Height, circumference — it all makes a difference soundwise.”

Across the years, the class act brought her glass act to appearances with David Letterman, Regis Philbin and Joe Franklin. She performed with the Hartford Symphony in 1979.

The still-vivacious Parker, once billed as “Glorious Gloria,” takes the compliments in stride: “Honey, I was born to perform.”

Her father designed a special carrying case to protect the musical glasses when Parker heads out on gigs. And while Parker has scaled back her performing dates, retirement is not on her mind.

“The thrill is even greater now,” she said with a smile. “I feel I belong on the stage.”

Category: Dinnerware  Tags: ,  Comments off
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.