Sat January 11, 2014
The Unassuming Virtuoso: Pianist Jeffrey Biegel
There's just something about pianist Jeffrey Biegel that strikes you as, well, different. A virtuoso among those of the highest caliber, he's also incredibly modest and unassuming. In some ways, just the guy next door. You'd never know you were in the company of greatness...until he starts playing. Then you know just who and what you're dealing with.
One of Steinway and Sons' first recording artists, Mr. Biegel has just released his third CD with the label, A Grand Romance. Listening to the CD takes you back to a time when virtuoso pianists would "romance" their audiences with something other than the most serious of works. It was a time when lighthearted sentiment, charm and technical prowess came together to woo the listener with pure entertainment.
Considered one of the great pianists of our time, Jeffrey Biegel has created a multi-faceted career as a pianist, recording artist, composer and arranger. His electrifying technique and mesmerizing touch have received critical acclaim and garner praise worldwide. Born a second-generation American, Mr. Biegel's roots are of Russian and Austrian heritage. 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.
In 1985, Leonard Bernstein said of Mr. Biegel, "He is a splendid musician and a brilliant performer." These comments helped to launch his 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. 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.
Listen for Jill's conversation with pianist Jeffrey Biegel, and music from his new Steinway and Sons' CD, A Grand Romance, on Crossover, Saturday morning at 11:30 on WRTI, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7 on HD-2 and the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.