The unusual career of Jeffrey Biegel takes its roots since the age of three, when Mr. Biegel could neither hear nor speak, until corrected by surgery. The ‘reverse Beethoven’ phenomenon explains his life’s commitment to music, having heard only vibrations in his formative years. The year of 2020 focused on composition, and Mr. Biegel published two Waltzes of Hope and a Sonatina, available at his My Score page through JW Pepper along with other compositions.
Since 1999, Jeffrey Biegel has commissioned more than ten composers to bring new music for piano and orchestra to the repertoire. In 2019, Kenneth Fuchs’s “Piano Concerto: ‘Spiritualist'” with the London Symphony Orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta garnered a Grammy win in the Best Classical Compendium category, featuring Mr. Biegel as its soloist. Considered the most prolific artist of his generation, Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Mr. Biegel, for his achievements in performance, recordings, chamber music, champion of new music, composer, arranger and educator. Among his recent recordings and performances, Mr. Biegel performed the World Premiere of Giovanni Allevi’s ‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra’ with Orchestra Kentucky and in Milan’s Teatro dal Vermes, recording with Orchestra Sinfonica Italiana. During 2018, Naxos released Kenneth Fuchs’s Grammy-winning recording, “Piano Concerto: Spiritualist” and, he performed the World Premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’s “Concerto no. 2 for Piano and Orchestra” with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Stuart Malina conducting. In 2019, Grammy winning composer, Dick Tunney unveiled the new “Peanuts Concerto” for piano and orchestra based on music by Vince Guaraldi for its World Premiere with Orchestra Kentucky and Mr. Biegel. Equally championing pop music icons, Mr. Biegel has brought Jimmy Webb’s ‘Nocturne for Piano and Orchestra’ to the public and, PDQ Bach’s ‘Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra’ by Peter Schickele with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Also in 2019, the first solo digital recordings were released on Mr. Biegel’s Naturally Sharp label, “Cyberecital: An Historic Recording”, and, “A Pianist’s Journey”. In 2021, he will premiere his “Reflection of Justice: An Ode to Ruth Bader Ginsburg” with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (additional orchestration by Harrison Sheckler) alongside the world premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s new composition for voice, piano and orchestra in tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. 2021 also sees the birth of the new “Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue” project for 2023-24-25 by Peter Boyer. In 2022, he will premiere Jim Stephenson’s first piano concerto, and Daniel Perttu’s, ‘A Planets Odyssey’ for piano and orchestra, and Farhad Poupel’s “The Legend of Bijan and Manije” for piano, orchestra and chorus.
A leading pioneer of concerto projects joining multiple orchestras as a model for commissioning new music in the 21st century, Mr. Biegel created the first largest consortium of orchestras in 1998 for Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s ‘Millennium Fantasy’ premiered with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2000, followed in 2002 with Tony Award winning composer Charles Strouse’s ‘Concerto America’ with the Boston Pops, Lowell Liebermann’s ‘Concerto no. 3, Opus 95’, premiered with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (2006), William Bolcom’s ‘Prometheus’ for piano, orchestra and chorus, with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Chorale (2010), Richard Danielpour’s ‘Mirrors’ with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra (2010), Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s ‘Shadows’ (2011) with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Jake Runestad’s ‘Dreams of the Fallen’ (2013) with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, Lucas Richman’s ‘Piano Concerto: In Truth’ (2013) with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, recorded in 2014 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for the Albany label, and Kenneth Fuchs’s “Piano Concerto: ‘Spiritualist'” with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA) in 2016. An avid composer, Mr. Biegel’s choral music is published by the Hal Leonard Corporation, Carl Fischer, Porfiri & Horvath and The LeDor Group. Leonard Bernstein said of pianist Jeffrey Biegel: “He played fantastic Liszt. He is a splendid musician and a brilliant performer.” These comments launched Mr. Biegel’s 1986 New York recital debut, as the third recipient of the Juilliard William Petschek Piano Debut Award in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. He studied at The Juilliard School with Adele Marcus, herself a pupil of Josef Lhevinne and Artur Schnabel, and is currently on faculty at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, a City University of New York (CUNY).