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.
The 2016-17 season includes World Premieres of two works 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. He also records
Kenneth Fuchs's "Piano Concerto: 'Spiritualist'" with the London Symphony
Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in August 2017, JoAnn Falletta conducting,
for a Naxos recording.
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,
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.