Jeffrey Biegel


Jeffrey Biegel

Jeffrey Biegel is one of today's most revered artists having created a multi-faceted career as a pianist, recording artist, composer and arranger. His electrifying technique and mesmerizing touch has received critical acclaim and garners praise worldwide. Known for his standard-setting performances of the standard repertoire, Mr. Biegel's recent recordings for Naxos include Leroy Anderson's Concerto in C, conducted by Leonard Slatkin with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Millennium Fantasy and Peanuts Gallery with the Florida State University Orchestra, a solo CD of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Classical Carols on the Koch label, as well as the Complete Sonatas by Mozart on the E1 label. In June 2010, he recorded an all-Bach CD with Grammy-winning producer, Steven Epstein, for late 2010 release. In 2010, he 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. Biegel is currently assembling a global commissioning project for Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's next work for piano and orchestra for the 2011-13 seasons. Mr. Biegel's'
Hanukah Fantasy for SATB/piano, is now published by the Hal Leonard Corporation, along with Lucas Richman's orchestral arrangement with choir, published by the LeDor Group. In January, 2010, Mr. Biegel created Trio21, with violinist Judy Kang and cellist Robert deMaine. For their inaugural season 2011-12, they will perform a new work commissioned exclusively for Trio21 by the celebrated composer Kenneth Fuchs.

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 performed the Boston premiere of the restored, original 1924 manuscript of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Boston Pops. He also transcribed Balakirev's Islamey Fantasy for piano and orchestra, premiered with the American Symphony Orchestra in 2001, followed with Charles Strouse's 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. His new editions for Schirmer's Performance Editions include Schumann's Scenes from Childhood, a new Sonatina Album, Tschaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Prokofiev's Music for Children, Opus 65 with accompanying audio CDs.

Mr. Biegel joined 18 co-commissioning orchestras for Lowell Liebermann's Concerto no. 3 for Piano and Orchestra, composed exclusively for him for the 2019-07-08 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.

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.

Until the age of 3, Mr. Biegel was unable to hear or 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, with his son, Craig, composed The World In Our Hands, published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. Also published through Hal Leonard are Christmas In A Minute, a choral setting of Chopin's Minute Waltz, an arrangement of The Twelve Days of Christmas, and Hey Ho, the Wind and the Rain from William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and the Hanukah Fantasy. Carl Fischer also publishes Ho Ho Hanukah! Ho Ho Christmas! and Different Kind of Hero in 2008, and, Earthsongs includes Mr. Biegel's Elegy of Anne Boleyn in their catalogue. Mr. Biegel has also recorded Rare Gems of the Golden Age, Classical Carols and other projects for PianoDisc, a player piano system.

Leonard Bernstein said of pianist Jeffrey Biegel, "He played fantastic Liszt. He is a splendid musician and a brilliant performer." He won the First Grand Prize in the 1989 Marguerite Long International Piano Competition and 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.

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 outside New York City with his wife, Sharon, and his sons, Craig and Evan.

Articles by Jeffrey Biegel:

Commissioning New Piano Works Through a Consortium of Orchestras: An Interview with Jeffrey Biegel
December 10, 2019