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Jeffrey Biegel: Biographical Sketch




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Considered one of the great pianists of our time, Jeffrey Biegel has created a multi-faceted career as a pianist, recording artist, chamber music collaborator, composer and arranger. His electrifying technique and mesmerizing touch have received critical acclaim and garner praise worldwide. His most recent venture is the creation of the Dicterow-DeMaine-Biegel piano trio, joined by violinist Glenn Dicterow and cellist Robert DeMaine. Known for his standard-setting performances of the standard repertoire, Mr. Biegel recently performed two premieres during the 2013-14 season: Lucas Richman's 'Piano Concerto' with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and, Jake Runestad's 'Dreams of the Fallen' with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus of New Orleans at the National WWII Museum on Veterans Day 2013. Also a specialist in the music of George Gershwin, Mr. Biegel is a new member of the touring ensemble for the staged extravaganza, "Here To Stay: The Gershwin Experience" with Sylvia McNair, Ryan VanDenBoom and David Snyder, taking the show to symphony orchestras worldwide. In ongoing commissioning projects of new works for piano and orchestra, Mr. Biegel performed two world premieres with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Carl St. Clair: Richard Danielpour's 'Mirrors for Piano and Orchestra', and, William Bolcom's 'Prometheus for Piano, Orchestra and Chorus'. Mr. Bolcom's work was also featured in a 'live' global webcast with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin conducting, with Beethoven's "Choral Fantasy". Extending his hands into the crossover world, he performed the premiere of his adaptation of pop legend Neil Sedaka's 'Manhattan Intermezzo' for piano and orchestra with Orchestra Kentucky, and performed the World Premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's 'Shadows' for piano and orchestra, with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, commissioned by eight orchestras.

In January 2014, GPR Records released Mr. Biegel's all-Chopin recording, "Life According to Chopin", distributed worldwide via Naxos. His recent recordings include 'A Grand Romance' (2013), 'A Steinway Christmas Album' (2011) and, 'Bach On A Steinway' (2010) for the Steinway & Sons label; Leroy Anderson's 'Concerto in C', conducted by Leonard Slatkin with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's 'Millennium Fantasy' and 'Peanuts Gallery', a solo cd of Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' for Naxos; 'Classical Carols' for Koch and the Complete Sonatas by Mozart on the E1 label. His chamber music recordings include Kenneth Fuchs' 'Falling Trio' based on the novel, "Falling Man" by Don DeLillo, for Naxos, and, Glen Roven's musical adaptation of the classic children's book, "Runaway Bunny", with guest narrator, Welsh-born actress Catherine Zeta Jones.

The career of pianist Jeffrey Biegel has been marked by bold, creative achievements and highlighted by a series of firsts: He initiated the first live internet recitals in New York and Amsterdam in 1997 and 1998, and, in 1999, assembled the largest consortium of orchestras (over 25), to celebrate the millennium with a new concerto composed for him by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, whose 'Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra' was premiered with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2000. He also transcribed Balakirev's 'Islamey Fantasy' for piano and orchestra, premiered with the American Symphony Orchestra in 2001, followed with Charles Strouse composing a new work titled 'Concerto America' for Mr. Biegel, premiered with the Boston Pops in 2002. He further arranged the 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.

Mr. Biegel joined 18 co-commissioning orchestras for Lowell Liebermann's 'Concerto no. 3 for Piano and Orchestra' composed exclusively for him for the 2006-07-08 seasons. The World Premiere took place with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andreas Delfs, and the European Premiere featured the Schleswig Holstein Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Oskamp.

Until the age of three, Mr. Biegel could neither hear nor speak, until corrected by surgery. The 'reverse Beethoven' phenomenon can explain Mr. Biegel's life in music, having heard only vibrations in his formative years. Born a second-generation American, Mr. Biegel's roots are of Russian and Austrian heritage. A Russian cousin, pianist Herman Kosoff, emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century, and had studied with the great Leopold Godowsky in Austria. Mr. Biegel's grandmother's cousin, Dr. Sonia Slatin,was a graduate of Columbia University who actively performed and also taught Schenkerian analysis at Brooklyn College.

Mr. Biegel performed Leroy Anderson's 'Concerto in C' with the Boston Pops conducted by Keith Lockhart in Boston's Symphony Hall, as well as with the New York Pops in Carnegie Hall for the New York premiere of this work and the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton (with the Grieg Piano Concerto on the SommerFest series 2008). 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. During a tour of Germany, he performed the World Premiere of Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons for Piano and String Orchestra' with members of the Schleswig Holstein Symphony Orchestra. He also 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 Leor 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 Choir are published by the LeDor Group, and, The 'Elegy of Anne Boleyn' is self-published. 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-Comin'' 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 manufacturer) has released Mr. Biegel's recording, 'Rare Gems of the Golden Age', 'Best of David Foster', 'Best of Josh Groban', and releases 'Classical Carols' in 2007 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 led by Steven Sloane and the Scandinavian Premiere with the Bergen Philharmonic led by Michael Stern in Norway.

Mr. Biegel performed the first global real audio/video cybercast piano recital in July 1997 from New York's Steinway Hall (featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Report syndicated TV feature). He subsequently performed the first European real audio/video cybercast piano recital from Amsterdam. The New York recital was released originally on the Angelok1 label, and is now available at www.jeffreybiegel.com

Sought after by today's composers to present their own new works, 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 many of the world's leading orchestras, including 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 has been heard in recital in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Cincinnati, London, Paris, Tokyo, Oslo, Mexico City, plus a multi-city tour of Norway.

Jeffrey Biegel 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 the legendary artist/teacher 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.

Mr. Biegel is currently on the piano faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, a City University of New York (CUNY), and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He resides in New York with his wife, Sharon, and their sons Craig and Evan.









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