The fascinating career of Jeffrey Biegel takes its roots from the beginning. Until the
age of three, Mr. Biegel could neither hear nor speak, until corrected by surgery.
The 'reverse Beethoven' phenomenon explains his life in music, having heard only
vibrations in his formative years.
In August 2017, Mr. Biegel records Kenneth Fuchs's "Piano Concerto: 'Spiritualist'"
with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios, JoAnn Falletta conducting,
for an upcoming Naxos recording.He also performs the World Premiere of a new
"Concerto for Piano and Orchestra" composed for him by Italian pianist/composer,
Giovanni Allevi, with Orchestra Kentucky, conducted by Jeff Reed. He will be joined
by Maestro Reed to perform the European Premiere on November 15, 2017 in Milan's
Teatro di Vermes. In March 2018, the new "Peanuts Concerto" for piano and orchestra,
will be available, created by Grammy-award winning composer, Dick Tunney, based on
the original music by Vince Guaraldi. For 2018-19-20, Christopher Theofanidis's
"Concerto for Piano, Strings, Harp and Percussion" will be performed by
commissioning orchestras as part of a new consortium effort.
The 2016-17 season included two World Premieres for piano and orchestra in
commissioning projects created by Mr. Biegel: PDQ Bach's "Concerto for Simply
Grand Piano and Orchestra" with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and 15 orchestras
in the USA and Finland, and Jimmy Webb's 'Nocturne for Piano and Orchestra' with
Orchestra Kentucky and orchestras in the USA.
On February 22, 2015, Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, conferred the Honorary
Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Mr. Biegel, for his achievements as the
most respected prolific artist of his generation in performance, recordings,
chamber music collaborator, champion of new music, composer, arranger and
educator. Mr. Biegel is respected for his incomparable performances of the
standard works for piano and orchestra, and has become the 'go to' pianist
for new compositions and special recording projects. 2015 saw the release of
Lucas Richman's 'Piano Concerto: In Truth' with Maestro Richman conducting the
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, William Bolcom's "Prometheus" for Piano,
Orchestra and Chorus with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Chorale,
E1 label's release of 'Volume 2: The Complete Sonatas for Piano by Mozart' and,
Steve Barta's 'Symphonic Arrangement' of Claude Bolling's 'Suite for Flute and
Jazz Piano no. 1' with the renowned jazz flutist, Hubert Laws. He performed two
World Premieres for piano and orchestra with Orchestra Kentucky, conducted by
Jeff Reed: Peter Tork's 'Moderato ma non troppo', and, Nashville's Grammy
winning composer, Dick Tunney's 'Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: The
Monkees'. (Mr. Tork is a member of the legendary rock group, The Monkees). Mr.
Biegel's artistry attracted the attention of the world's most sought after
producer/arranger/composer, David Foster, who introduced Mr. Biegel to Jeremy
Lubbock, whose orchestrations form the sonic landscape for many chart-topping,
Grammy winning recordings by legendary pop music artists. After listening to
a 'live' demo recording of Mr. Biegel's performance of Rachmaninov's
'Concerto no. 3', Jeremy Lubbock offered to compose a new opus especially
for Mr. Biegel, which had resulted in the World Premiere of Mr. Lubbock's
'Moods: a duet for piano and strings', with Donald Spieth leading the
Moravian College Orchestra in 2015. The recording company, Naxos, offered
Mr. Biegel the unique opportunity to record a compilation of works with
Paul Phillips conducting the Brown University Orchestra released in
January 2016. This project includes the original 1924 piano part for
George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue', Maurice Peress' orchestration of
Duke Ellington's 'New World A-Coming', Keith Emerson's 'Concerto no. 1',
and Neil Sedaka's 'Manhattan Intermezzo' featuring Mr. Biegel's additions
to the piano part, meeting Mr. Sedaka's approval. Additional Naxos discography
includes Leroy Anderson's 'Concerto in C' with Leonard Slatkin conducting the
BBC Concert Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's 'Millennium Fantasy' and
'Peanuts Gallery', Kenneth Fuchs's 'Falling Trio', Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
and Cesar Cui's '25 Preludes'. Koch Records' 'Classical Carols', is a holiday
recording merging well known piano music with traditional holiday carols,
arranged by Carolyne M. Taylor.
Chosen the first pianist to record for the Steinway & Sons recording label,
Mr. Biegel's 'Bach On a Steinway' debuted #3 on the Classical Billboard charts,
followed by 'A Steinway Christmas Album' reaching the #1 spot on the Billboard
chart. This was followed with a tribute to the Golden Age pianists for Steinway's
release, 'A Grand Romance', featuring knuckle-busters performed by the great
pianists of the early 20th century. In 1997, he created and performed the
first live audio/video r ecitals on the internet from Steinway Hall in New
York, and the recording is preserved on a recording bearing the website
name at that time,
The videos from these historic
recitals are available on Mr. Biegel's website and YouTube.
In the world of chamber music, his most recent creation is the Dicterow-DeMaine-Biegel
piano trio, joined by violinist Glenn Dicterow and cellist Robert DeMaine. Their
debut on the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth series garnered accolades from
Olin Chism and Gregory Sullivan Isaacs in their reviews.
As a pioneer of commissioning projects joining multitudes of orchestras as a model
for commissioning new music in the 21st century, Mr. Biegel created the first
largest consortium of orchestras in 1998 toward bringing a new work to audiences
in 2000. He brought 27 orchestras into the largest commissioning project up until
that time, for Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's 'Millennium Fantasy' premiered with the
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2000. In 2000, he decided to go one step further
and create the first 50 state project with Tony award winning composer, Charles
Strouse's 'Concerto America'. Every orchestra in the USA received the press
release announcing the 'Concerto America Project'. The tragic events of
September 11, 2001, made Mr. Biegel realize that the timing for such an endeavor
was inappropriate. The Boston Pops, conducted by Keith Lockhart, delivered a
brilliant World Premiere in June 2002, followed by a performance with the former
Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Taking commissioning to a new level, Mr. Biegel
created a new project joining 17 orchestras in the USA with 1 orchestra in
Germany, representing the European Premiere for Lowell Liebermann's 'Concerto
no. 3, Opus 95'. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Andreas Delfs
gave the premiere in 2006, followed by the Landestheater Sinfonieorchester
Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, conducted by Gerard Oskamp. In 2010, Mr. Biegel
performed the World Premiere of William Bolcom's 'Prometheus' for piano,
orchestra and chorus, with Carl St. Clair leading the Pacific Symphony
Orchestra and Pacific Chorale, followed with performances by the Detroit
Symphony Orchestra led by Leonard Slatkin, the Calgary Philharmonic and
Chorus representing the Canadian commissioning member orchestra, and
several more involved in this project. In addition, Mr. Biegel gave the
World Premiere of Richard Danielpour's 'Mirrors' with the Pacific Symphony
Orchestra, also with Maestro St. Clair conducting. During the 2015-16
season, Mr. Biegel performed the World Premiere of Kenneth Fuchs's "Piano
Concerto: 'Spiritualist'" based on three paintings by American abstract
artist, Helen Frankenthaler, with orchestras in the USA including the
Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA) and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.
Further developing the repertoire by some of the finest composers of our
time, Mr. Biegel returned one decade later in 2010 to Pulitzer Prize composer,
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, for a new commissioning project. 'Shadows' features
piano, orchestra and one percussionist on drum set, djembe and crotales.
The piece reflects the many who emigrate from their homeland to new lands,
bringing their native cultures, music, language and styles with them, hence
creating 'shadows' of their heritage in their new homeland. The Louisiana
Philharmonic Orchestra presented the World Premiere in 2011, with Maestro
Carlos Miguel Prieto conducting. Kevin Rhodes lead the Pro Arte Chamber
Orchestra (also a member of the commissioning project), with Mr. Biegel's
son, Evan, then only 16, in his debut as percussion soloist in 2013.
In 2013, composer/conductor Lucas Richman, composed his 'Piano Concerto:
In Truth' exclusively for Mr. Biegel, which received its premiere in
2013 with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, composer conducting.
During a rehearsal of Mr. Bolcom's 'Prometheus' with Vocal Essence in
Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall, Mr. Biegel met the young composer, Jake
Runestad. A lunch meeting with Jake prompted Mr. Biegel to invite Jake
to be his next focus for a commissioning project. As a result, Mr.
Runestad brought a very significant theme to the project, honoring
veterans of war, dealing with their strife returning to the world they
once knew. Jake created a monumental composition for piano, orchestra
and chorus, teaming up with war veteran and renowned poet, Brian Turner.
'Dreams of the Fallen'
received its World Premiere with the Louisiana
Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus of New Orleans at the
National WWII Museum on Veterans Day 2013, conducted by the respected
American maestro, James Paul. Information at
Mr. Biegel has also transcribed Balakirev's 'Islamey Fantasy' for piano
and orchestra, premiered with the American Symphony Orchestra in 2001,
and also arranged the virtuosic piano part for Billy Joel's 'Symphonic
Fantasies' in 2006, with performances at the Eastern Music Festival, the
Boris Brott Festival and with the Indianapolis, Harrisburg, and other
US orchestras. In addition, he substituted for the late pianist John
Browning to perform the World Premiere of Marjorie Rusche's 'Dreaming
the Rag Waltz Blues' and Beethoven's 'Concerto no. 1 in C Major' with
the South Bend Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tsung Yeh, and performed
the World Premiere of Daniel Dorff's 'Concerto no. 1', composed for Mr.
Biegel, with the Etowah Youth Orchestra, Mike Gagliardo conducting.
An avid composer, Mr. Biegel and his son, Craig, co-composed 'The World
In Our Hands', published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. It reflects
the events of 9-11 with a vision for hope and peace, and has been
performed in Africa, Ireland, and throughout the U.S. The Hal Leonard
Corporation has also published 'Christmas In A Minute', an SATB choral
version of Chopin's 'Minute Waltz' as well as his arrangement of 'The
Twelve Days of Christmas' for SATB divisi a cappella choir, and,
'Hanukah Fantasy' for SATB/piano (orchestration by Lucas Richman
available through The LeDor Group). The orchestration for 'Christmas
In A Minute' by Kermit Poling is available through Lauren Keiser
Music, which can be performed by soloist and orchestra, or with
choir and orchestra. Mr. Biegel received a commission to compose
a new work for SSA choir with the chosen text, 'Hey Ho, The Wind
and the Rain' from William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night', and is
published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. 'Hey Ho, The Wind and the
Rain' is featured on a new CD recorded by Voci Nobili, the
prize-winning Norwegian women's choir conducted by Maria Helbekkmo.
Voci Nobili also performed the work in New York's Merkin Hall. His
most recent choral compositions include 'There Shines a Light Ahead'
for SATB/piano published by Porfiri & Horvath in 2013, an arrangement
of 'The Christmas Song' for SATB a cappella choir, and both 'Ho Ho
Hanukah, Ho Ho Christmas' and 'A Different Kind of Hero' are published
by Carl Fischer Inc. 'Four Psalms for SATB Choir' are published and
available at JW Pepper's My Score for Mr. Biegel, along with 'The
'Elegy of Anne Boleyn' and 'Auld Lang Syne' for piano solo and for
SATB choir and piano. In addition, Artaria publishes his editions
of Cesar Cui's '25 Preludes' (cd available through Naxos) and Antoine
Reicha's 'Symphonie Concertante pour Deux Violoncelles et Orchestre'.
His editions for Schirmer's Performance Editions include Schumann's
'Scenes from Childhood', 'The Sonatina Album, 'Tschaikowsky's
'Nutcracker Suite' and Prokofiev's 'Music for Children, Opus 65'
with accompanying audio cds.
Mr. Biegel's Swiss debut featured Duke Ellington's 'New World A-Coming'
with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Pinchas Steinberg
conducting. On January 8, 2001, he appeared on ABC-TV's Good Morning America,
followed by a performance with the American Symphony Orchestra led by the
late Vahktang Jordania in New York's Avery Fisher Hall. The program
featured the World Premiere of Mr. Biegel's transcription of Mily
Balakirev's 'Islamey Fantasy' for piano and orchestra, the restored
original 1924 manuscript of George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' and
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's 'Peanuts Gallery'. PianoDisc (the player piano
system) has released Mr. Biegel's recording, 'Rare Gems of the Golden
Age', 'Best of David Foster', 'Best of Josh Groban', and 'Classical
Carols' along with IQ dvd videos featuring works by Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt.
In 1997, he performed the original 1924 manuscript of Gershwin's 'Rhapsody
in Blue' with the Boston Pops (covered by CNN, ABC-TV, NPR, CBC Canada,
Associated Press and USA Today). He has subsequently performed the 1924
manuscript with orchestras across the United States, including the St.
Louis Symphony, and the Israel Chamber Orchestra conducted by Philippe
Entremont at the Kravis Center (West Palm Beach, Florida). He has also
presented the German Premiere of the work with the Bochumer Symphoniker
and the Scandinavian Premiere with the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway.
Mr. Biegel has recorded the World Premiere of composer Lalo Schifrin's
'Piano Concerto No. 2 - The Americas' with the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Munich
Radio Orchestra). This is featured in the current motion picture soundtrack
titled 'Something to Believe In', released on Aleph Records. In addition,
he has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Saint Louis, Pittsburgh,
Milwaukee, Cincinnati and the National Symphony Orchestras, the Tokyo, New
Japan, Hong Kong, Oslo, Bergen, Buffalo and BBC Philharmonics, Singapore
Symphony, Danish National Radio Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, Orchestre
de Monte Carlo, Orchestre de Radio France, Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux,
Palermo's Orchestra della Teatro Massimo, Turkey's Istanbul Symphony,
Presidential Symphony Orchestra, Izmir Symphony and the Ensemble Orchestral
de France in Paris' Theatre des Champs-Elysees.
In 1985, Leonard Bernstein said of pianist Jeffrey Biegel: "He played
fantastic Liszt. He is a splendid musician and a brilliant performer." These
comments helped to launch Mr. Biegel's 1986 New York recital debut, as the
recipient of the coveted Juilliard William Petschek Piano Debut Award, in
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Alice Tully Hall. He was the
unanimous recipient of the prestigious First Grand Prize in the 1989
Marguerite Long International Piano Competition and the First Prize
in the 1985 William Kapell/University of Maryland International Piano
Competition. He studied at The Juilliard School with Adele Marcus,
herself a pupil of Josef Lhevinne and Artur Schnabel. He made his
New York orchestral debut performing Prokofiev's 'Concerto no. 2 in
g minor' with the Juilliard Philharmonia, in Lincoln Center's Alice
Tully Hall, conducted by the late Sixten Ehrling.
Mr. Biegel is currently on the piano faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory
of Music at Brooklyn College, a City University of New York (CUNY). He
resides in New York with his wife, Sharon, and their sons Craig and Evan.