Archive for May, 2005

In recent times, with the exception of horrific attacks in key parts of the world against our military and allies, at home, we have had relative peace. This could explain why we have delved deeper into commissioning new works for the future, learning new music, planning for future schedules, writing new music that will wait to be published and then performed in two years–but there’s always the bug in the back of the mind–what if?? What if something else happens close to home? Then there’s the guilt–how can we do these new projects for the future–while there are people sacrificing their lives on the other side of the world? How can we compose a beautiful melody–and perform works of beauty while faced with daily news of strife, death and always wondering when something else might happen closer to home? Tough questions to answer, perhaps. Perhaps we continue to challenge ourselves as human beings, no matter what.

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The following is a sneak preview of a press release that will be released early June. There are a few potential global premieres we are waiting on, though I wanted at this time to share the news about a very special project with the renowned composer, and friend, Lowell Liebermann:

Jeffrey Biegel and Lowell Liebermann Piano Concerto Consortium Project
By Monica Robinson
Monica Robinson, Ltd.
May, 2005

For Immediate Release
Contact: Monica Robinson, Ltd.
914-962-6062 or MRLTD6062@aol.com

Monica Robinson, Ltd. and Jeffrey James Arts Consulting has announced that internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Biegel will join with renowned composer Lowell Liebermann in a global commissioning project for his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3.

This new work is being commissioned by an international consortium of orchestras, which will perform the work with Mr. Biegel as soloist during the 2006-07-08 seasons. Mr. Liebermann envisions Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 as being approximately 25-30 minutes in duration. Each co-commissioning orchestra in the US has the distinction of performing the state premiere during the exclusivity period.

The World Premiere of the new work has been scheduled with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Andreas Delfs, Music Director, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 12-14, 2006. The European Premiere will be given by the Schleswig Holstein Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Oskamp, Music Director, in Flensburg, Germany, February 6-9, 2007. This project is being produced in cooperation with the American Music Center, a non-profit organization.

With support from private sponsorship, the ‘Concerto no. 3 for Piano and Orchestra’ will also receive its Canadian Premiere with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in January, 2007 and other global premieres are in the process of being secured worldwide.

The following is a list of co-commissioning orchestras:

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (World Premiere)–Andreas Delfs

Schleswig Holstein Symphony Orchestra (European Premiere)–Gerard Oskamp

San Diego Symphony (CA)–(West Coast Premiere)–Jahja Ling

Anchorage Symphony Orchestra (Alaska)–(Pacific Northwest Premiere)–Randall Craig Fleischer

Colorado Symphony–Jeffrey Kahane

Louisiana Philharmonic–conductor tba

Huntsville Symphony Orchestra (AL)–Carlos Miguel Prieto

Hartford Symphony Orchestra (CT)–Edward Cumming

South Dakota Symphony–Delta David Gier

New Mexico Symphony Orchestra–Guillermo Figueroa

Columbus Symphony Orchestra (GA)–George Del Gobbo

Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA)–Kevin Rhodes

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (TN)–Lucas Richman

Mansfield Symphony Orchestra (OH)–Robert J. Franz

South Bend Symphony Orchestra (IN)–Tsung Yeh

Traverse Symphony Orchestra (MI)–Kevin Rhodes

Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra (NY)–Charles Peltz

Key West Symphony Orchestra (FL)–Sebrina Alfonso

For further information about the project, please contact Monica Robinson, Ltd. at 914-962-6062 or by email at MRLTD6062@aol.com. You can also visit her online at http://www.monicarobinsonltd.com/.

Jeffrey Biegel has established himself as one of the most versatile artists on the stage today. He has consistently amazed audiences and critics throughout the world with his electrifying technique, elegant pianism, warmth and artistic maturity. Critics compare him to legendary pianists Cliburn, Lhevinne, Fleisher and Horowitz. With his acclaimed interpretations of standard repertoire, to his affinity for “Rare Gems of the Golden Age” and unique piano concerti (Duke Ellington, Keith Emerson, Leroy Anderson) he is placed among the front ranks of today’s pianists.

Mr. Biegel has been the focus of two previous orchestral commissioning consortiums: Pulitzer Prize Winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra – Premiered in September, 2000 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos and performed by Mr. Biegel with 27 consortium member orchestras throughout the United States during the 2000-05 seasons, and Broadway legend Charles Strouse’s Concerto America for Piano and Orchestra.

In addition, American composer Richard Danielpour will compose a new work for Mr. Biegel, tentatively titled “Concerto for Piano & Percussion” (5 players and piano). This new composition is slated for premieres in the 2006-07 season with the esteemed Canadian percussion ensemble, Nexus. You can find much more about Mr. Biegel at his website – http://www.cyberecital.com/.

Lowell Liebermann is one of today’s most widely performed and commissioned composers. Orchestras worldwide have championed Liebermann’s works, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Tokyo NHK Symphony, L’Orchestre National de France, and the symphonies of Dallas, Baltimore, Seattle, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Minnesota. Among the artists who have performed Liebermann’s works are James Galway, Charles Dutoit, Stephen Hough, Kurt Masur, Joshua Bell, Steven Isserlis, Andrew Litton, Susan Graham, David Zinman, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Paula Robison, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Steuart Bedford, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Visit his website at http://www.lowellliebermann.com/.

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Getting to know the genius producer/composer David Foster, I decided to re-create 17 of his best known songs as solo piano transcriptions after spending time with him on his beautiful Malibu estate. He is an amazing musician, loves classical music and plays piano in a natural and beautiful style that is uniquly his own. The only folks reading this blog that would be able to hear these songs would be owners of the PianoDisc player piano system. Since recording this project in January, 2004, we now have the go ahead for the ‘Best of David Foster’ release from PianoDisc–included are David’s kind words about the project as well as my short bio:

Artist Series: Jeffrey Biegel – Best of David Foster Catalog #: PD/CD 2013. This exciting solo piano collection of David Foster’s songs was created for the PianoDisc player piano system. Through PianoDisc’s modern player technology, Mr.. Biegel plays these Foster favorites live on the piano. (Cannot be played on conventional audio CD players.)
Songlist:

Winter Games
Glory of Love
After The Love Has Gone
Look What You’ve Done To Me
Hard To Say I’m Sorry
Through The Fire
What About Me
you’re The Inspiration
Love Theme- St. Elmo’s Fire
Light The Fire Within
Saje
I Have Nothing
The Colour Of My Love
Remember Me This Way
The Power Of The Dream
My Grown Up Christmas List
The Prayer

Website is www.pianodisc.com
Contact is sales@pianodisc.com

“It is a great honor for me to have my compositions performed by one of the world’s greatest and most talented pianists. Jeffrey Biegel’s style and ability to understand the classical world and the pop world without compromise to either is perhaps his greatest gift.
I don’t like to listen to my own pieces at all but, this is one time where I will definitely make an exception. Thank you Jeffrey for all the wonderful music and performances you have given to all of us.”–david foster

Jeffrey Biegel has established himself as one of the most versatile artists on the stage today. He has consistently amazed audiences and critics throughout the world with his electrifying technique, elegant pianism, warmth and artistic maturity. Critics compare him to legendary pianists Cliburn, Lhevinne, Fleisher and Horowitz. With his acclaimed interpretations of standard repertoire, to his affinity for “Rare Gems of the Golden Age” and unique piano concerti (Duke Ellington, Keith Emerson, Leroy Anderson) he is placed among the front ranks of today’s pianists.

Mr. Biegel has been the focus of two previous orchestral commissioning consortiums: Pulitzer Prize Winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra – Premiered in September, 2000 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos and performed by Mr. Biegel with 27 consortium member orchestras throughout the United States during the 2000-05 seasons, and Broadway legend Charles Strouse’s Concerto America for Piano and Orchestra.

In addition, American composer Richard Danielpour will compose a new work for Mr. Biegel, tentatively titled “Concerto for Piano & Percussion” (5 players and piano). This new composition is slated for premieres in the 2006-07 season with the esteemed Canadian percussion ensemble, Nexus. His solo piano transcriptions of Josh Groban’s first cd songbook plus three selections from ‘Closer’, Mr. Groban’s second cd songbook, will be released in 2005 by PianoDisc. He is also an avid composer of choral music, as several of his compositions are published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. You can find much more about Mr. Biegel at his website – http://www.cyberecital.com/.

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As a pianist who occasionally enjoys writing choral music, I was absolutely shocked to find my holiday choral titled, ‘Christmas In A Minute’ listed at www.jwpepper.com as an Editor’s Choice! I actually wrote the piece, based on Chopin’s ‘Minute Waltz’ back in February 2001 in less than 2 hours. I heard Barbra Streisand’s voice in my head as I wrote it, much akin to her spectacular ‘Jingle Bells’ from her 1960s Christmas album. I immediately faxed it to David Foster, the creative genius composer/arranger/producer–well, God of the pop industry. I respect his taste and judgement in all genres of music.

When I visited his home in Malibu in June, 2001, I showed it to him, and he remembered my fax copy. He mentioned he was helping Barbra produce her next Christmas album, and he called her with my song. I played and sang a page or so (it’s really difficult to do, and I had no clue he was going to do that–me not being a vocalist–here was my big break with the great Barbra Streisand!) She told David that she had already recorded the Minute Waltz (which both David and I didn’t remember–it was a stroll through the museum in New York on the ‘Color Me Barbra’ release) and she never repeats musical material as such. As a result, David encouraged me to keep the piano/vocal alive somehow. Don’t give up on it, he told me.

I turned it into an SATB a cappella divisi waltz, and the Hal Leonard Corporation graciously agreed to publish it. Since they needed a piano part, I called upon my friend, the brilliant violinist/conductor/composer/arranger (yes, he is all of these)Kermit Poling, from Shreveport. Since he was already creating an orchestral arrangement to accompany a female vocalist for the chart,I had asked him to create a piano part of the orchestration so Hal Leonard can publish it as an optional accompaniment for the chart.

I checked with www.halleonard.com on May 14th and found the song already available. If you type my name ‘biegel’ in the search box, several tunes will come up on the screen. If you click on ‘Christmas In A Minute’, you can sample audio nearly half of the tune.

If there are choral conductors out there or orchestral conductors that might enjoy programming the tune for choir/orchestra or vocalist/orchestra for holiday concerts, please be in touch with me at sharpnat@aol.com. I thought it would be fun to have some new holiday material.

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On Monday, May 9th, I had the pleasure to be invited as a Steinway artist to tour the factory in Long Island City and then perform a half hour recital in one of the large manufacturing rooms (on a beautiful new concert ‘D’ grand piano) for 450 employees. After the tour, I realized that it does indeed take many people to create this ‘instrument of the immortals’. Each room has a different purpose, smell, and temperature according to the task. The wood vaults contain woods from all over the world, the bending machines to shape the instruments, the small parts that are individually put together, stringing the harps, etc. The realization of every person’s part for every minute detail that goes into making the instruments enhanced my view of the finished product. We rarely have the opportunity to see these people at work, and they rarely have the opportunity to witness the fruits of their labors in concert. The event was enlightening for all of us. If you are ever in the New York area, I would suggest a phone call to Steinway inquiring to take a tour of the factory. It’s absolutely fascinating.

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I am happy to announce the creation of a new orchestra co-commissioning project which will feature a new piano concerto being composed exclusively for me by Daniel Dorff. Maestro Michael Gagliardo and the Etowah Youth Orchestra have agreed to perform the World Premiere of Daniel Dorff’s ‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra’ with me as piano soloist in Gadsden, Alabama in May, 2007, followed by the New York Premiere in Carnegie Hall in June, 2007. This unique project was created through discussions with Daniel, who is indeed a brilliant composer. He had sent a cd of his music to me and I was extremely impressed with the style and refreshing creativity.

The project goal is to join orchestras (youth, festivals, universities) across the US to commission Daniel to compose a new piano concerto for me to be performed with the co-commissioning orchestras in the 2007-08 season. Daniel has already enjoyed a successful output of works that are regularly programmed for young people’s concerts by major orchestras. His first piano concerto will be an important contribution to the repertoire for pianists, orchestras, and will offer opportunities for the orchestras to be part of a large and visible commissioning project.
Here is Daniel’s personal vision of the work:

“RELEVANCE TO YOUTH ORCHESTRA:

Music will be visceral, rhythmic, hormonal; exciting for young players. Harmonic style like my other music – American influenced with some amount of jazz or rock flavor subtlely, but “serious” not crossover; compare Bernstein, Barber, Copland.

Difficulty level for select ambitious youth orchestras. I will not write down for high school orchestra level, but in writing for professional orchestra standards, I’ll be careful about staying practical. See details below.

INSTRUMENTATION

Woodwinds: by 3’s or 2’s, with Piccolo, EH, Bass Clar available. I’ll avoid other woodwind doublings. Passagework may be difficult, but won’t exceed standard high range or use extended techniques.

Brass: 4331 or less, using C Trumpets, maybe Harmon mutes called for. Writing at adult level, but I’ll be careful about high register.

Harp: yes
Other Keyboard in orchestra: No

Percussion: 3 perc players on standard instruments, nothing weird to rent; plus Timpani with 4 drums

Strings: Maybe solo passages for principals; divisi a2 is fair game, but probably not a3. Passagework may be difficult in spots, but I’ll watch out for high ranges.

RHYTHM

Many ensembles find rhythm the hardest element to polish in my music, and a neoprimitive piano concerto is likely to use syncopation and irregular rhythm very strongly. I’ll make a point of keeping these repetitive and clearly notated, with a minimum of irregular changing meter.

FORM AND STRUCTURE

I’m tentatively thinking of a 3-movement fast-slow-fast standard concerto form with Concerto as the title; however that might change as I get into the actual writing. Either way, let’s aim for roughly 20 minutes.

My initial concept is Mvt 1: fiery toccata with an arresting opening section grabbing them right from bar 1; lyric B theme keeps driving rhythm at all times, not sentimental, just lyrical. Mvt 2: A-B-A’ based on an original song, maybe as variations; lots of chamber music or wind solos. Mvt 3: Rondo.”

Please feel free to stay in touch with me at sharpnat@aol.com, as it
would indeed be a pleasure to explore this further with you and your
youth orchestras. You can also visit our web sites www.cyberecital.com
(Biegel) and www.danieldorff.com forfurther information.

With kindest regards,

Jeffrey Biegel
1-516-593-1485

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Kurt Anderson, son of composer Leroy Anderson, called me the other day
to remind me that the 100th Anniversary Centennial Year of his
father’s birth (1908) will be in 2008. Kurt knows I have been a strong
advocate of his father’s ‘Concerto in C’ for Piano and Orchestra and
hopes I can help to present the concerto in the 2007-08, 2008-09
seasons to celebrate the Centennial of his father’s birth. One can see where his studies with Walter Piston come into play in this full-bodied and exciting piano concerto. In
addition, there plans to be a full score and set of parts for
the ‘Concerto in C’ available for purchase at a very low price, which
Kurt will keep me apprised. If the concerto can be programmed
for the celebratory seasons, please feel free to zip me an email at
sharpnat@aol.com…. Best regards, Jeffrey Biegel

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