At any time of the year the piano stands out as an acoustic marvel, both aristocratic and homespun, the glory of concert-hall virtuosos, the delight of toddlers pummeling the family upright. But at Yuletide it is something else again. As Jeffrey Biegel demonstrates on this album of seasonal melodies old and new, the instrument proves itself an incomparable medium for conveying the merriment, magic and mystery embodied in our great and ancient winter holiday.
“If you're in the market for another Christmas record this year, you can't go wrong with the one featuring pianist Jeffrey Biegel. His technical flair and consistent tastefulness shine throughout the disc.”
— Baltimore Sun
“Concert-hall worthy, a classy addition to any round of holiday gatherings, and a warm and friendly companion to cozy up with in the bleak midwinter.”
— San Francisco Sentinal
“Overall, it's a marvelous album that will appeal especially to those who prefer to enjoy the music of the season without the glib commercialism that often gets attached to it. Indeed, the intelligence and artistry are such that you can savor it any time of year.”
About the Artist
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 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.
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, Op. 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).
Chosen as the first pianist to record for the Steinway & Sons recording label, Mr. Biegel's Bach On a Steinway debuted at #3 on the Classical Billboard charts, followed by A Steinway Christmas Album reaching the #1 spot on the Billboard chart. This was followed with a tribute to the Golden Age pianists for Steinway's release, A Grand Romance, featuring knuckle-busters performed by the great pianists of the early 20th century.
About Steinway & Sons label
The STEINWAY & SONS music label produces exceptional albums of solo piano music across all genres. The label — a division of STEINWAY & SONS, maker of the world’s finest pianos — is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.