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FeaturedGuest Performer

Guest Performer Biography: Jeffrey Biegel

By August 8, 2023March 11th, 2024No Comments
Jeffrey Biegel at piano

Photo credit: Jerry LoFaro

Jeffrey Biegel will be performing as guest pianist with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra at our An American Celebration concert on April 6. Tickets are available online or through our box office.

The life and legacy of Jeffrey Biegel reflects an unprecedented journey as a pianist having created the most diverse commissioning projects, premieres and recordings of his generation, building bridges to break divides through music. His life takes its roots from age three, barely able to hear nor speak, until corrected by surgery. The ‘reverse Beethoven’ phenomenon explains his lifelong commitment to music, having heard only vibrations in his formative years. The pandemic year of 2020 focused on composing original “Waltzes of Hope”, “Sonatina”, and “Three Reflections: JFK, RBG and MLK” for solo piano, and for piano and orchestra, orchestrations by Harrison Sheckler. 2021 saw the world premieres of his “Reflection of Justice: An Ode to Ruth Bader Ginsburg” with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg” for mezzo-soprano, piano and orchestra in tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. Also, the world premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Shadows” newly arranged for piano and seven players with the Idaho State Civic Symphony. In 2022, he premiered Jim Stephenson’s ‘Piano Concerto’, Daniel Perttu’s ‘A Planets Odyssey’ for piano and orchestra, Farhad Poupel’s “The Legend of Bijan and Manijeh” for piano, orchestra and chorus, his own concerto, ‘Three Reflections: Freedom (JFK), Justice (RBG) Equality (MLK)’, and Christopher Marshall’s ‘Thanksgiving Variations on “We Gather Together”‘. For 2023, world premieres of Peter Boyer’s “Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue” and Grammy winning singer/songwriter, Melissa Manchester’s ‘AWAKE’ for piano and orchestra will take the stages across America. The 2024-25 season foresees a new work for piano and orchestra by Adolphus Hailstork with the Pacific Symphony, Carl St. Clair conducting.

Considered the most prolific artist of his generation, Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Mr. Biegel in 2015, for his achievements in performance, recordings, chamber music, champion of new music, composer, arranger and educator. In 2019, Kenneth Fuchs’s “Piano Concerto: ‘Spiritualist'” with the London Symphony Orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta received a Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium, featuring Mr. Biegel as its soloist. In 2019, the first digital recordings were released on Mr. Biegel’s Naturally Sharp label: “Cyberecital: An Historic Recording”, “A Pianist’s Journey”, and the September 2021 release of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” 1924 version with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Bruce Kiesling conducting.

Mr. Biegel created the first largest consortium of orchestras in 1998 for Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s ‘Millennium Fantasy’ premiered with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2000, followed with Charles Strouse’s ‘Concerto America’ with the Boston Pops, Lowell Liebermann’s ‘Concerto no. 3’ with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, William Bolcom’s ‘Prometheus’ for piano, orchestra and chorus, with the Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale, Richard Danielpour’s ‘Mirrors’ with the Pacific Symphony, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s ‘Shadows’ with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Jake Runestad’s ‘Dreams of the Fallen’ with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, Lucas Richman’s ‘Piano Concerto: In Truth’ with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, recorded with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Kenneth Fuchs’s “Piano Concerto: ‘Spiritualist'” with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA). He also premiered and recorded Giovanni Allevi’s ‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra’ and commissioned Christopher Theofanidis’s “Concerto no. 2 for Piano and Orchestra” with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the “Peanuts Concerto” by Dick Tunney, based on music by Vince Guaraldi, Jimmy Webb’s ‘Nocturne for Piano and Orchestra’ and, PDQ Bach’s ‘Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra’ by Peter Schickele with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Bringing new music to youth orchestras saw the world premiere of Daniel Dorff’s ‘Piano Concerto’ with the Etowah Youth Orchestra, conducted by Michael Gagliardo.

He studied at The Juilliard School with Adele Marcus, herself a pupil of Josef Lhevinne and Artur Schnabel, and is currently on faculty at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College.