Dennis Parker was born in New York City and began his cello studies at the age of six. He received his early training with Channing Robbins of the Juilliard School, and later earned degrees from Indiana University and Yale University, where he worked with Janos Starker and Aldo Parisot, respectively.

Inspired by a variety of musical activity, Parker appears frequently as soloist, recitalist, collaborator, and guest professor at numerous universities and festivals. He is actively involved in the expansion of the existing cello repertoire, and has transcribed many works for his instrument. Since 1988, Parker has served as Professor of Cello and String Chamber Music at the Louisiana State University School of Music. A former member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Parker has also served as Principal Cellist of the Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He has recently recorded for DVD the first complete performance of David Popper's "High School of Cello Playing" and is the author of the accompanying manual, "Popper Manifesto". He has also released two CD's with the Centaur label: Cello Matters, which features crossover music for cello and piano by Liduino Pitombeira, Daniel Schnyder, David Baker, and Astor Piazzolla and Uplifting Discoveries from a Generation Lost a recording of chamber music by composers who perished in the Holocaust (Erwin Schulhoff, Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullmann and Hans Krasa). Volume 1 of "Stolen Sonatas" with pianist, Jennifer Hayghe was released in Spring 2007. This latest recording includes Parker's own transcriptions of Debussyís "Sonata for Violin and Piano", Poulencís "Sonata for Flute and Piano", and Enescoís "Sonata No.3 for Violin and Piano."

This past season, Parkerís concert tours have taken him from Brasilia, Brazil, where he premiered the "Cello Concerto" by Walter Burle-Marx, to Nanjing, China, where he was soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, to Prague, where he was heard with the President's Chamber Orchestra in performance of his transcription of Mozart's "Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Cello", and then back to Brazil to the International Music Festival in Campos do Jordao.
As an avid woodworker, Parker creates objects that extend his musical expression and complement the delicate act of performance with the risky business of maneuvering wood through various cutting and shaping devices.

His work has been displayed in a variety of venues including the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City.