Grammy winner dazzles during Rhapsody in Blue & Bolero

arts & entertainment

Jeffrey Biegel

Grammy-winning pianist, Jeffrey Biegel returns to Central Florida to join the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra for Rhapsody in Blue & Bolero at 3:00 PM on Sunday, April 25 at Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center, 1707 16th Street in Vero Beach, 32960.  Biegel will perform Spiritualist, a concerto in three movements by SCSO favorite collaborator and Grammy winner, Kenneth Fuchs. In 2019, Kenneth Fuchs’s Spiritualist with the London Symphony Orchestra garnered a Grammy win in the Best Classical Compendium category, featuring Mr. Biegel as its soloist. Biegel will further dazzle audiences with his performance of George Gershwin’s immensely popular jazz classic, Rhapsody in Blue.  While brimming with a sense of Gershwin’s youthful energy and musical exploration, the performance will embrace the 2018 critical edition of Rhapsody in Blue that restores much of the original orchestration and piano solo edits made by the composer. The concert will conclude with Maurice Ravel’s astonishing one-movement masterpiece, Boléro, based on a Spanish musical form and dance Ravel deemed “insistent.” Slowly building in intensity, Boléro brought shouts and cheers at its 1929 American premiere in New York –and evokes a similar response from audiences today.  $30 advance tickets for adults are available through the orchestra website at SpaceCoastSymphony.org or at mainland and beachside branches of Marine Bank & Trust. Tickets at the door are $35.  Online ticketing is encouraged, for optimum social distancing and capacity planning. The symphony’s Covid-19 safety measures will be in place for the indoor concert, including temperature checks, limited and spaced seating and mandatory mask-wearing for the duration of the event. The audience is asked not to arrive more than 30 minutes prior to show time.  Rhapsody in Blue & Bolero is free for those aged 18 and under or with a student ID. For more information, call toll free to 855-252-7276 or visit SpaceCoastSymphony.org. 

The Space Coast Symphony has collaborated on seven previous occasions with the Juilliard-trained Biegel — and programmed music by the Grammy-winning composer Fuchs no less than ten of the orchestra’s 12 seasons. SCSO conductor and artistic director, Aaron T. Collins is certain the audience is in for a powerful musical experience. 

“We are so pleased to welcome Jeffrey Biegel back to Florida for this concert,” said Collins. “Not only will he reprise his Grammy-winning performance of the Ken Fuchs’ concerto, but his inspired piano solo in Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody’ may be the closest version to what audiences actually heard when it premiered in 1924.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the symphony’s board of directors has chosen a slate of safety protocols consistent with other performing groups in Central Florida. The SCSO Covid-19 policy is available here: https://spacecoastsymphony.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/SCSO-Covid-Policy.pdf

Concertgoers aged 18 and under or with a college ID are admitted free to every SCSO concert. For more information about the Space Coast Symphony’s 2020-21 Season and to view Covid-19 protocols for each performance, please visit SpaceCoastSymphony.org or call toll-free (855) 252-7276.

ABOUT JEFFREY BIEGEL, PIANIST — Since 1999, Jeffrey Biegel has commissioned ten composers to bring new music for piano and orchestra to the repertoire. On February 10, 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 unveils 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. The first solo digital recordings on Mr. Biegel’s Naturally Sharp label were released and, upcoming plans include world premiere performances of Daniel Perttu’s “A Planets Odyssey” Jim Stephenson’s first piano concerto, and Farhad Poupel’s “Legend of Bijan and Manijeh” for piano, orchestra and chorus. In tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mr. Biegel has created a project for vocalist/narrator, piano and small orchestral ensemble. The work will be composed by Pulitzer Prize composer, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and will feature the respected mezzo-soprano, Denyce Graves. Anticipated first performances will be in 2021. Planning into the 2023-24-25 seasons, Mr. Biegel is currently organizing the “Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue” project, composer already involved to be announced shortly, for a planned 50-state and perhaps global project post-pandemic. This will coincide with centennial celebrations for George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” .

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).

ABOUT THE SPACE COAST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA— The SCSO is a lively and passionate Central Florida orchestra comprised of professional musicians, music educators and mentored amateurs of exceptional ability.  The Orchestra was formed by Conductor and Artistic Director Aaron T. Collins with a two-fold mission: to provide mentoring and performance opportunities for Florida’s finest young musicians as well as to provide professional concerts at genuinely affordable prices.  The ultimate goal of the organization is to help ensure the symphonic tradition for the enjoyment of future generations.

37-year old Aaron T. Collins is garnering recognition for his achievements.  LEAD Brevard named the ambitious Collins one of their “4 under 40” Young Professionals, the youngest-ever recipient of the honor.  Space Coast Business magazine listed him as one of Brevard’s “100 Most Admired Businesspeople.” Collins is a past recipient of the Richard A. Stark Award for cultural leadership from the Cultural Council of Indian River County.  Through his personal involvement with more than a dozen performing arts groups, pioneering reciprocal ad program and social media cross promotions, Collins has gained a reputation for generosity; championing other arts organizations throughout Central Florida for the cultural enrichment of the community. 

School-aged children 18 years and under are admitted free of charge, as are college students with a valid ID.  In keeping with their mission, the symphony provides a unique Symphony for Everyone ticketing program, a “pay-what-you-can” option designed to provide substantially discounted admission to any Space Coast Symphony concert (PLEASE NOTE: availability may vary during Covid pandemic). Relying on a non-traditional orchestra model and a slim budget, the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra is one of only 19 U.S. orchestras to perform year-round. In addition to maintaining the Space Coast Symphony JAZZ Orchestra and Space Coast Symphony Wind Orchestra, the non-profit organization also has a youth orchestra and provides numerous separate and free ensemble performances. More information about the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concerts, ticket sales, venues, directions and sponsorship opportunities is available at SpaceCoastSymphony.org by calling toll free (855) 252-7276.

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