Mily Balakirev's Islamey, a virtuosic fantasy inspired by melodies from the Caucasus Mountains, is given a dazzling performance by pianist Jeffrey Biegel.
“This is high Romanticism at its more winning and most engaging. To complement the music, Jeffrey Biegel's pianism is both comfortable and dazzling.”
— Classical Candor
“A genre of pianism that allows Biegel to express his unique tonal palette and sensitivity to pedaling, color and phrasing.”
— LA Examiner
Balakirev: Islamey / Jeffrey Biegel • STNS 30196
Release Date: 11/5/2021
Recorded July 25, 2012 at Sono Luminus Studios, Boyce, Virginia.
Producer: Dan Merceruio
Engineer: Daniel Shores
Executive Producers: Eric Feidner, Jon Feidner
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Photo of Jeffrey Biegel: Jerry LoFaro
Piano Technician: John Veitch
Piano: Steinway Model D #590904 (New York)
About the Artist
The life of Jeffrey Biegel takes its roots from age 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 Biegel focused on composition and commissioning projects: original "Waltzes of Hope", "Sonatina", and "Three Reflections: JFK, RBG and MLK" for solo piano, and for piano and orchestra, orchestrations by Harrison Sheckler. Autumn 2021 sees the world premieres of his "Reflection of Justice: An Ode to Ruth Bader Ginsburg" with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's "Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg" for mezzo-soprano, piano and orchestra in tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. Also, the world premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's "Shadows" newly arranged for piano and seven players with the Idaho State Civic Symphony.
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 in 2015, for his achievements in performance, recordings, chamber music, champion of new music, composer, arranger and educator.
In 2019, Kenneth Fuchs's "Piano Concerto: 'Spiritualist'" with the London Symphony Orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta received a Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium, featuring Mr. Biegel as its soloist. In 2019, the first digital recordings were released on Mr. Biegel's Naturally Sharp label: "Cyberecital: An Historic Recording", "A Pianist's Journey", and the September 2021 release of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" 1924 version with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Bruce Kiesling conducting. In 2022, he will premiere Jim Stephenson's piano concerto, Daniel Perttu's 'A Planets Odyssey' for piano and orchestra, Farhad Poupel's "The Legend of Bijan and Manije" for piano, orchestra and chorus, and Peter Boyer's "Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue" in 2023.
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 with Charles Strouse's 'Concerto America' with the Boston Pops, Lowell Liebermann's 'Concerto no. 3' with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, William Bolcom's 'Prometheus' for piano, orchestra and chorus, with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Chorale, Richard Danielpour's 'Mirrors' with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's 'Shadows' with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Jake Runestad's 'Dreams of the Fallen' with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, Lucas Richman's 'Piano Concerto: In Truth' with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, recorded with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Kenneth Fuchs's "Piano Concerto: 'Spiritualist'" with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA). He also premiered and recorded Giovanni Allevi's 'Concerto for Piano and Orchestra' and commissioned Christopher Theofanidis's "Concerto no. 2 for Piano and Orchestra" with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the "Peanuts Concerto" by Dick Tunney, based on music by Vince Guaraldi, Jimmy Webb's 'Nocturne for Piano and Orchestra' and, PDQ Bach's 'Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra' by Peter Schickele with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Renowned composer, Daniel Dorff, composed his Piano Concerto for Mr. Biegel, premiered with the Etowah Youth Orchestra, conducted by Michael Gagliardo.
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.
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.