Events« All Events
- Music of P.D.Q. Bach, Milhaud, R. Strauss & Saint-Saëns
- January 13-14, 2017 8:00 PM
- where: Dell Hall directions
- conductor: Peter Bay
Enjoy a night of fun lighthearted “classical” music with your Austin Symphony. Music Director, Peter Bay, has arranged an evening filled with fantastic and even funny music by some of the best composers. Guest pianist, Jeffrey Biegel will perform a piece by the sultan of symphonic music, P.D.Q. Bach. You will also get to hear ASO’s own Principal Pianist, Alex Maynegre-Torra perform the crowd favorite, Saint-Saëns’s Le carnaval des animaux!
Still want more? How about playing on some string instruments provided by our friends at Violins Etc.? We also have a wonderful pre-concert talk given by Bob Buckalew at 7:10 pm. How about “tweeting” with our musicians and ASO staff? Take a photo in front of our photo wall. The Austin Symphony wants you to get the most out of your concert experience, which starts…
Our friends at KMFA 89.5 FM have commissioned a new work, KMFA: A Celebratory Overture, written by composer Dan Welcher to be performed during the first half to commemorate the station’s 50th anniversary. This work will be streamed at 8:00 PM CST January, 14, 2017.
All artists, programs & dates subject to change
|Darius Milhaud||Le boeuf sur le toit, Op. 58|
|P.D.Q. Bach||Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra|
|Richard Strauss||Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28|
|Camille Saint-Saëns||Le carnaval des animaux|
Dan Welcher (1948-)
KMFA: A Celebratory Overture (“Klassical Music For Austin”)
Composed in 2016
Duration: 5 minutes
The idea of an all-classical music radio station on the American FM band is a relatively new phenomenon. In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, classical music was regularly featured on “regular radio”, with some networks even having their own in-house orchestras (the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini being a prime example). But in the 1960s, local radio stations affiliated with the fledgling National Public Radio network began featuring classical music for at least part of the day, and some stations became “all-classical” for their entire broadcast day. The presence of classical music on the Big Networks slowly disappeared (on network television as well, which had been heavily involved with arts programming in earlier times), and classical broadcasting began to be seen as a niche audience. In some communities, it was not the NPR stations that went “all-classical”; it was a loose affiliation of local listener-owned radio stations who picked up the baton.
Radio station KMFA (Classical 89.5) in Austin, Texas was one of those stations. Going on the air for the first time on January 29th, 1967 (with the rousing notes of Rossini’s WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE as the first piece broadcast), it originated in donated space with donated equipment and a volunteer engineer. Now, fifty years into its history, the station boasts a 24-hour non-commercial all-classical format that exists in a vibrant, rapidly growing community of over two million people. Still proudly independent (it is neither affiliated with the University of Texas nor with National Public Radio), KMFA has been able to maintain its integrity. It is one of a handful of radio stations in the USA that still plays, uninterrupted, entire symphonies—-as well as broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Symphony, and a host of other regular programs from the leading cultural institutions of our time.
When KMFA asked me to write a commemorative overture for the Austin Symphony to play in January of 2017, marking fifty years of classical broadcasting on the air,
I decided to do more than just write another rousing short work to begin a concert.
I took the four call letters of the station’s name and assigned them musical pitches: K (=C) M (=G) F, and A. These four notes, both in the original key and in every imaginable transposition, become a leitmotif organizing the entire overture. It begins with a fanfare, which ultimately relaxes into a gently singing melody in an undulating 9/8 meter. This melody begins with the KMFA theme inverted, with the intervals turned upside down: C-G-F-A becomes (in transposition) E-A-B-G, and develops from there. After a spun-out exposition, this theme gives way to a jumpy, playful 2/4 episode. When this second tune has finished, the first theme returns to round out the first half of the work.
But it is in the second half that I took liberties with classicism and pre-ordained proportions. Where the normal sonata form would have a “development” section, re-working and playing with the two main themes, this overture becomes, in effect, an impatient radio listener—-sampling famous pieces in short bursts to see what’s on. We begin with a tiny fragment of Mozart’s MARRIAGE OF FIGARO overture, but quickly morph into the ever-present KANON IN D by Pachelbel (an in-joke for classical music stations, since the Pachelbel Canon is widely seen as the most-heard piece during fund drives). The Pachelbel eight-bar mantra is repeated three times, with various other works overlaying it (and eventually destroying it) by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Rossini (yes, the William Tell Overture), Bach, Richard Strauss, and more Beethoven—- (much more Beethoven; three different symphonies are teased into the fabric). But through it all, the four-note KMFA theme is ever-present: a reminder that classical radio is essential, and that Klassical Music For Austin (and wherever else this piece is played) needs to be kept alive and vibrant.
I am happy to have been associated with KMFA Classical 89.5 for many years now, and to present this overture to the world as a testament to my deep faith in classical radio—-and in Beethoven.
© Dan Welcher (2016)
Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
Le Boeuf sur le toit, Op. 58
Composed in 1919
Duration: 15 minutes
Le Bœuf sur le toit, Op. 58 (English title, The Ox on the Roof: The Nothing-Doing Bar) is a surrealist ballet made on a score composed by Darius Milhaud, which was in turn strongly influenced by Brazilian popular music. The title is that of an old Brazilian tango, one of close to 30 Brazilian tunes (choros) quoted in the composition. The piece was originally to have been the score of a silent Charlie Chaplin film (Cinéma-fantaisie for violin and piano).
Its transformation into a ballet (Pantomime Farce) was the making of the piece, with a scenario by Jean Cocteau, stage designs by Raoul Dufy, and costumes by Guy-Pierre Fauconnet. There is no real story to speak of, but a sequence of scenes based on music inspired by Brazil, a country in which the composer spent two years during World War I. The stage set is that of a bar frequented by a number of characters: a bookmaker, a dwarf, a boxer, a woman dressed in men’s clothing, a policeman who is decapitated by the blades of an overhead fan before he is revived, and a number of others. The first actors were in fact clowns from the Medrano circus, the Fratellini. The choreography was deliberately very slow, in marked contrast to the lively and joyful spirit of the music.
The premiere was given in February 1920 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and comprised, besides the ballet, Adieu New York by Georges Auric, Cocardes by Francis Poulenc and Trois petites pièces montées by Erik Satie.1
The version for chamber orchestra was followed by another for piano duet, subtitled Cinema Symphony on South American Airs (its performance lasts about a quarter of an hour).
The ballet gave its name to a celebrated Parisian cabaret-bar, Le Bœuf sur le toit, which opened in 1921 and became a meeting-place for Cocteau and his associates.
PDQ Bach (1807-1742)?
Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra
Duration: 23 minutes
The piano has been an instrumental part of the P.D.Q. Bach oeuvre right from the very beginning, being featured in everything from smaller solo piano works such as the Three Teeny Preludes and the Traumarei for unaccompanied piano, though chamber music including the Sonata Innamorata for piano four hands and The “Trite” Quintet, to major extravaganzas such as The Short-Tempered Clavier, Preludes and Fugues in all the major and minor keys except for the really hard ones, and the Concerto for Two Pianos vs. Orchestra.
But never before have modern audiences been able to experience P.D.Q. Bach’s Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra. This piano concerto eluded discovery for more than 50 years since Prof. Schickele began his exhaustive research into the music of P.D.Q. Bach only to become the largest new P.D.Q. Bach work discovered this Century. It brings together a lone piano player and a complete symphony orchestra containing Trombones, Timpani, Temple Blocks, Tambourine, and everything.
Taking on the demanding and daunting piano part is the renowned pianist who also commissioned Prof. Schickele’s discovery of the Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra, Jeffrey Biegel (/www.jeffreybiegel.com). This is his story:
“In the 1970s, I was introduced to the recordings of P.D.Q. Bach in junior high school. I was immediately transfixed by this music and the legendary fictitious son of the greatest composer of them all, J.S. Bach. My recording collection grew as a result, and I joined the throngs of fans attending the concerts. By chance, in the early 1980s, I noticed Peter Schickele admiring the various posters outside Lincoln Center and had to stop and say hello. It was a magical moment for me. Fast forward to winter 2002, when I approached Peter to consider composing a new work for piano and orchestra as P.D.Q. Bach for me. He was too busy, and sadly declined. Following commissioning projects I created with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Charles Strouse, Lowell Liebermann, Richard Danielpour, William Bolcom and the young master Jake Runestad, I decided to give it one more try in 2015. In his own words, Peter said, ‘If I don’t do it now, I never will!’. Hence, I created the P.D.Q. Bach commissioning project. I was not sure how many orchestras and donors would agree to join this mission, but alas, fifteen orchestras and many devout followers of P.D.Q. Bach joined my cause! I never dreamed as a young musician in the 1970s that in 2016, I would bring a new piano concerto to the public composed for me by P.D.Q. Bach! I am honored and delighted to bring this new Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra to audiences in the USA and Europe during the 2016-17-18 seasons!”
But piano concertos cannot be commissioned by pianists alone. In order to bring this piece to light, Jeffrey Biegel had to marshal the forces of more than a dozen orchestras, each of whom will be performing this piece with Mr. Biegel over the course of the next few years: Colorado Symphony Orchestra (World Premiere), Jyvaskyla Sinfonia (European Premiere), Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, Austin Symphony, Empire State Youth Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, New Philharmonia (Newton, Massachusetts), North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Kentucky, Philharmonia Northwest, Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra (Oregon), South Florida Symphony Orchestra, South Shore Symphony Orchestra, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, and VocalEssence
The combined effort of all of these fine musical groups was enough to make Prof. Schickele scour the most remote hiding places of musical manuscripts until he could uncover the Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra and prepare it for all of these performances by Jeffrey Biegel.
Richard Strauss (1864-1995)
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28
Composed in 1894-1895
Approx. 18 minutes
If you want to create a work that is unified in its mood and consistent in its structure, and if it is to give the listener a clear and definite impression, then what the author wants to say must have been just as clear and definite as his own mind. This is only possible through the expression of a poetical idea.” Thus wrote Richard Strauss in 1888 in a letter to his mentor, the great pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow, even before he had composed his first successful tone poem, Don Juan. The “poetical idea” from which Till Eulenspiegel sprang was a well-known character of German folklore, a rude mechanic born in Brunswick in 1283, according to the account of 1515 by a Franciscan monk, Thomas Burner. So popular were the tales of Till that they were soon translated into a half dozen languages, including English, and fully twenty editions of his adventures had been published in French by the beginning of the 18th century. Olin Downes wrote of this impish character “Till, they say, was a wandering mechanic who lived by his wits, turning up in every town and city. He made himself out to be whatever the situation required- butcher, baker, wheelwright, joiner, monk, or learned metaphysician. He was a lord of misrule, a liar and villain, whose joy it was to plague honest folk and play foul jests upon them. He pillaged the rich, but often helped the poor…For Till is freedom and fantasy; his is the gallant, mocking warfare of the One against the Many and the tyranny of accepted things. He is Puck and Rabelais, and [he inspired] quicksilver in Strauss’ music.”
The performance of an opera based on the Till legends by the forgotten Wagnerite Cyrill Kistler in the subject. Strauss began sketching a libretto for a projected opera about Till by June 1893, but his lack of talent at poetry and the failure of his first opera, Guntram, the following May discouraged him from further work on the plan. When he returned to the subject several months later, the opera had become a tone poem. The work scored an immediate triumph at ts premiere, and was soon being performed by orchestras around the world. Furtwängler called it “a stroke of genius, worthy of Beethoven.” The aged Bruckner so enjoyed the first Viennese performance that he wanted to hear the work again immediately. Busoni said lightness and humor had not been handled so well by a German composer since the days of Haydn.
“Eulenspiegel” in German means “owl-mirror,” and it is generally agreed that the name of this legendary rascal who both embodies and exploits human foibles, alludes to a German proverb: “Man sees his own faults as little as an owl recognizes his ugliness by looking into a mirror.” When asked to elucidate his music, Strauss at first refused completely, but later wrote to Franz Wüllner, the conductor of the premiere, “It is impossible for me to furnish a program to Eulenspiegel; were I to put into words the thoughts which its several incidents suggested to me, they would seldom suffice, and might even give rise to offense. Let me leave it, therefore, to my hearers to rack the hard nut which the Rogue has prepared for them. By way of helping them to a better understanding, it seems sufficient to point out the two Eulenspiegel motives, which in its most manifold disguises, moods, and situations, pervade the whole up to the catastrophe when, after he has been condemned to death, Till is strung up to the gibbet. For the rest, let them guess at the musical joke which the Rogue has offered them.” The two motives that Strauss mentioned occur immediately at the beginning of the work- the “once upon a time” phrase played by the strings, and the bounding horn them, whose ambiguous rhythm offers a musical joke to those trying to tap their shoes. Strauss, a master of thematic manipulation, spun most of the melodic threads of Till from these two motives. Unlike historical Till, who reportedly died in bed of the plague, Strauss sentenced his scoundrel to swing for his crimes amid threatening rolls on the drums and great blasts from the trombones. The closing pages, however, revive the impish spectre of the physically departed Till, as if to say that this insouciant spirit remains always evergreen.
Pressed for a more complete description of Till’s progress as depicted by the music, Strauss jotted the following notes in the score of the music critic Wilhelm Mauke: “Once upon a time a Volksnarr [“people’s fool or jester”]; named Till Eulenspiegel; He was just an awful hobgoblin; Off for New Pranks; Just wait, you hypocrites! Hop! On horseback into the midst of the marketwomen; With seven-league boots he lights out; Hidden in a Mouse-hole; Disguised as a Pastor, he drips with unction and morals; Yet out of this big toe peeps the Rogue; But before he gets through he nevertheless has qualms because of his having mocked religion; Till as cavalier pays court to pretty girls; She has really made an impression on him; He courts her; a kind refusal is still a refusal; Till departs furious, he swears vengeance on all mankind; Philistine motive; After he has propounded to his Philistines a few amazing theses he leaves them in astonishment to their fate; Great grimaces from afar; Till’s street tune; The court of Justice; He still whistles to himself indifferently; Up the Ladder! There he swings; he gasps for air, a last convulsion; the mortal part of Till is no more.”
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
Le Boeuf sur le toit, Op. 58
Composed in 1886
Saint-Saëns was an extraordinarily prolific composer who worked in a surprising variety of media, including film music. Oddly enough, The Carnival of the Animals, one of his most popular compositions, was written as an occasional piece, not to be played more than once (for a Mardi Gras celebration). Saint-Saëns considered it lightweight stuff, indeed. It is certainly playful. It is in the form of a suite, each movement of which has a characteristic mood. They are as follows:
1. Introduction and Royal March of the Lions
This begins with piano trills, steadily growing faster, and culminating with a piano fanfare, appropriately pompous for a lion. Then the regal march begins, with the pianos making runs like lion-roars. The strings take over the roars to the accompaniment of oriental tinkling on the pianos. Finally, the pianos resume the “roars.”
2. Hens and Cocks
This is very “imitative,” with the unmistakable pecking of the hens and the cock-a-doodle-do of the roosters.
3. Wild Jackasses
Here there is wild scampering of the pianos up and down the scales, forming a striking contrast with what is to follow.
Here is the first of many quotations from other composers. Saint-Saëns has taken the lively Can-can from Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and turned it into a ponderous melody suitable for the tortoise.
5. The Elephant
A similar joke has been played on Berlioz, as his delicate Dance of the Sylphes has been slowed, and given over to the double-basses for the dance of the elephants.
Kangaroos is a piece for the pianos alone. The springy bounce of the animals is perfectly suggested.
7. The Aquarium
Here, the sinuous gliding of the silvery fish through shimmering water is suggested by piano arpeggios and tinkling cascades of the piano, aided by the xylophone.
8. Characters with long ears
We immediately hear the braying of the donkeys, a sly jab at Saint-Saëns’ detractors.
9. The Cuckoo deep in the woods
There is a slow, deliberate series of piano chords recalling Gregorian Chant, but which may be intended to suggest the swing of a pendulum. The clarinet plays the role of the cuckoo.
Rapid flutterings of the flutes cleverly evoke the twittering of birds.
All piano students and their parents will recognize the monotonous running of scales in different keys.
The “fossils” here are the old war-horses trotted out for every summer concert at the town park. Works of several well-known composers are parodied. The first is a parody of Saint-Saëns’ own work, Danse Macabre, about skeletons dancing in the graveyard. The xylophone plays the role of the dancing bones there, as well as here, the bony “fossils” being the old tunes.
After parodying his own music, Saint-Saëns turns his attention to a series of well-known French folk-songs. The first is J’ai du bon tabac …The second is Ah Vous dirai je Maman … The third is Au clair de la Lune … The fourth, Going to Syria …, and the last, a reference to The Barber of Seville, by Rossini.
13. The Swan
This is the only section Saint-Saëns allowed to be played during his lifetime, after the initial performance. It has become a favorite of cello performers.
14. Finale is an exuberant romp, recapitulating some of the pieces we have heard, and involving the entire orchestra.
The fascinating career of Jeffrey Biegel takes its roots from the beginning. Until the age of three, Mr. Biegel could neither hear nor speak, until corrected by surgery. The ‘reverse Beethoven’ phenomenon explains his life in music, having heard only vibrations in his formative years. Mr. Biegel is of Russian and Austrian heritage, as his cousin, pianist Herman Kosoff, emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century, having studied with the legendary pianist, Leopold Godowsky in Austria. Mr. Biegel’s grandmother’s cousin, pianist Dr. Sonia Slatin, graduated from The Juilliard School and Columbia University and actively performed and taught Schenkerian analysis at Brooklyn College.
The 2016-17 will include World Premieres of two works for piano and orchestra in commissioning projects created by Mr. Biegel: PDQ Bach’s “Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra” with 15 orchestras in the USA and Finland, and Jimmy Webb’s new composition for piano and orchestra. On February 22, 2015, Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Mr. Biegel, for his achievements as the most respected prolific artist of his generation in performance, recordings, chamber music collaborator, champion of new music, composer, arranger and educator. Mr. Biegel is respected for his incomparable performances of the standard works for piano and orchestra, and has become the ‘go to’ pianist for new compositions and special recording projects. 2015 saw the release of Lucas Richman’s ‘Piano Concerto: In Truth’ with Maestro Richman conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, William Bolcom’s “Prometheus” for Piano, Orchestra and Chorus with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Chorale, E1 label’s release of ‘Volume 2: The Complete Sonatas for Piano by Mozart’ and, Steve Barta’s ‘Symphonic Arrangement’ of Claude Bolling’s ‘Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano no. 1’ with the renowned jazz flutist, Hubert Laws. He performed two World Premieres for piano and orchestra with Orchestra Kentucky, conducted by Jeff Reed: Peter Tork’s ‘Moderato ma non troppo’, and, Nashville’s Grammy winning composer, Dick Tunney’s ‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: The Monkees’. (Mr. Tork is a member of the legendary rock group, The Monkees). Mr. Biegel’s artistry attracted the attention of the world’s most sought after producer/arranger/composer, David Foster, who introduced Mr. Biegel to Jeremy Lubbock, whose orchestrations form the sonic landscape for many chart-topping, Grammy winning recordings by legendary pop music artists. After listening to a ‘live’ demo recording of Mr. Biegel’s performance of Rachmaninov’s ‘Concerto no. 3’, Jeremy Lubbock offered to compose a new opus especially for Mr. Biegel, which had resulted in the World Premiere of Mr. Lubbock’s ‘Moods: a duet for piano and strings’, with Donald Spieth leading the Moravian College Orchestra in 2015. The recording company, Naxos, offered Mr. Biegel the unique opportunity to record a compilation of works with Paul Phillips conducting the Brown University Orchestra released in January 2016. This project includes the original 1924 piano part for George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, Maurice Peress’ orchestration of Duke Ellington’s ‘New World A-Coming’, Keith Emerson’s ‘Concerto no. 1’, and Neil Sedaka’s ‘Manhattan Intermezzo’ featuring Mr. Biegel’s additions to the piano part, meeting Mr. Sedaka’s approval. Additional Naxos discography includes Leroy Anderson’s ‘Concerto in C’ with Leonard Slatkin conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s ‘Millennium Fantasy’ and ‘Peanuts Gallery’, Kenneth Fuchs’s ‘Falling Trio’, Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and Cesar Cui’s ’25 Preludes’. Koch Records’ ‘Classical Carols’, is a holiday recording merging well known piano music with traditional holiday carols, arranged by Carolyne M. Taylor.
Chosen the first pianist to record for the Steinway & Sons recording label, Mr. Biegel’s ‘Bach On a Steinway’ debuted #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. In 1997, he created and performed the first live audio/video recitals on the internet from Steinway Hall in New York, and the recording is preserved on a recording bearing the website name at that time, ‘cyberecital.com ‘. The videos from these historic recitals are available on Mr. Biegel’s website and YouTube.
Pioneer of commissioning projects joining multitudes of orchestras as a model for commissioning new music in the 21st century, Mr. Biegel created the first largest consortium of orchestras in 1998 toward bringing a new work to audiences in 2000. He brought 27 orchestras into the largest commissioning project up until that time, for Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s ‘Millennium Fantasy’ premiered with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2000. In 2000, he decided to go one step further and create the first 50 state project with Tony award winning composer, Charles Strouse’s ‘Concerto America’. Every orchestra in the USA received the press release announcing the ‘Concerto America Project’. The tragic events of September 11, 2001, made Mr. Biegel realize that the timing for such an endeavor was inappropriate. The Boston Pops, conducted by Keith Lockhart, delivered a brilliant World Premiere in June 2002, followed by a performance with the former Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Taking commissioning to a new level, Mr. Biegel created a new project joining 17 orchestras in the USA with 1 orchestra in Germany, representing the European Premiere for Lowell Liebermann’s ‘Concerto no. 3, Opus 95’. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Andreas Delfs gave the premiere in 2006, followed by the Landestheater Sinfonieorchester Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, conducted by Gerard Oskamp. In 2010, Mr. Biegel performed the World Premiere of William Bolcom’s ‘Prometheus’ for piano, orchestra and chorus, with Carl St. Clair leading the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Chorale, followed with performances by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra led by Leonard Slatkin, the Calgary Philharmonic and Chorus representing the Canadian commissioning member orchestra, and several more involved in this project. In addition, Mr. Biegel gave the World Premiere of Richard Danielpour’s ‘Mirrors’ with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, also with Maestro St. Clair conducting. In March 2016, Mr. Biegel performed the World Premiere of Kenneth Fuchs’s ‘Piano Concerto’ based on three paintings by American abstract artist, Helen Frankenthaler, with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA) and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.
Further developing the repertoire by some of the finest composers of our time, Mr. Biegel returned one decade later in 2010 to Pulitzer Prize composer, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, for a new commissioning project. ‘Shadows’ features piano, orchestra and percussionist on drum set, djembe and crotales. The piece reflects many who emigrate from their homeland to new lands, bringing their native cultures, music, language and styles with them, hence creating ‘shadows’ of their heritage in their new homeland. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra presented the World Premiere in 2011, with Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto conducting. Kevin Rhodes lead the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra with Mr. Biegel’s son, Evan, then only 16, in his debut as percussion soloist in 2013. In Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall, Mr. Biegel met the young composer, Jake Runestad, who created a composition for piano, orchestra and chorus, teaming with war veteran and renowned poet, Brian Turner. ‘Dreams of the Fallen’ received its World Premiere with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus of New Orleans at the National WWII Museum on Veterans Day 2013.
An avid composer, Mr. Biegel and his son, Craig, co-composed ‘The World In Our Hands’, published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. The Hal Leonard Corporation has also published ‘Christmas In A Minute’, an SATB choral version of Chopin’s ‘Minute Waltz’ as well as his arrangement of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ for SATB divisi a cappella choir, and, ‘Hanukah Fantasy’ for SATB/piano (orchestration by Lucas Richman available through The LeDor Group). The orchestration for ‘Christmas In A Minute’ by Kermit Poling is available through Lauren Keiser Music, which can be performed by soloist and orchestra, or with choir and orchestra. Mr. Biegel received a commission to compose a new work for SSA choir with the chosen text, ‘Hey Ho, The Wind and the Rain’ from William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, and is published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. Other choral compositions include ‘There Shines a Light Ahead’ for SATB/piano published by Porfiri & Horvath in 2013, an arrangement of ‘The Christmas Song’ for SATB a cappella choir, and both ‘Ho Ho Hanukah, Ho Ho Christmas’ and ‘A Different Kind of Hero’ are published by Carl Fischer Inc. ‘Four Psalms for Choir’ are published by the LeDor Group, and, The ‘Elegy of Anne Boleyn’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ for piano solo and for SATB choir and piano are self-published.
In 1997, he performed the original 1924 manuscript of Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ with the Boston Pops, and has subsequently performed the 1924 manuscript with the St. Louis Symphony, and the Israel Chamber Orchestra conducted by Philippe Entremont at the Kravis Center, the German Premiere with the Bochumer Symphoniker and the Scandinavian Premiere with the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway. On January 8, 2001, he appeared on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, followed by a performance with the American Symphony Orchestra in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall. The program featured the World Premiere of Mr. Biegel’s transcription of Mily Balakirev’s ‘Islamey Fantasy’ for piano and orchestra, the restored original 1924 manuscript of George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s ‘Peanuts Gallery’.
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 recipient of the coveted Juilliard William Petschek Piano Debut Award in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Alice Tully Hall. He studied at The Juilliard School with Adele Marcus, herself a pupil of Josef Lhevinne and Artur Schnabel. Mr. Biegel is currently on the piano faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, a City University of New York (CUNY).
Martin Burke – AT ZACH THEATRE: Mothers and Sons with Michael Learned, Peter and the Starcatcher, This Wonderful Life (2013-2014), Harvey, The Santaland Diaries (1998-2003, 2006-2007, 2009-2012, 2015), Fully Committed (2003 and 2012), The Laramie Project (2002 and 2012), The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, The Drowsy Chaperone, Take Me Out, House Arrest, Circumference of a Squirrel, Shakespeare’s R&J, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. AUSTIN SHAKESPEARE: Design for Living. IMAGINE THAT PRODUCTIONS: House of Several Stories, A Writer’s Vision(s) and Down the Drain. REGIONAL THEATRE: The Odd Couple, The Drowsy Chaperone (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma) Poulenc: L’Histoire de Babar, le petit elephant with Anton Nel (The University of Texas at Austin), Celebrity Autobiography (The Long Center), Greater Tuna with Joe Sears (Charles Dugan Presents), Twelfth Night (Sneck Up! Productions, Vortex Repertory Company), Jeffrey (Capital City Playhouse), Richard III/2 Actors and Family Affair (Public Domain), Shopping and F**king, Fur and Julius Caesar (Vortex Repertory Company), Richard III, Julius Caesar (Colorado Shakespeare Festival), Riversong, Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 and Romeo & Juliet (Idaho Repertory Theatre). AWARDS: Austin Chronicle’s “Best of” 2010, 2013 & 2015 “Best Actor” Award; Austin Critics’ Table Award “Acting in a Leading Role” for The Drowsy Chaperone, B. Iden Payne Award “Outstanding Ensemble” for The Drowsy Chaperone, The Laramie Project and Shakespeare’s R&J; B. Iden Payne Award “Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy” for House of Several Stories; B. Iden Payne Award “Outstanding Featured Actor in a Drama” for Take Me Out; Austin Critics’ Table Award “Best Actor, Drama” and B. Iden Payne Award “Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy” for Circumference of a Squirrel; Austin Critic’s Table Award “Best Actor, Comedy” for The Santaland Diaries; B. Iden Payne Award “Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play” for Twelfth Night, Angels in America: Perestroika and Family Affair; Austin Critics’ Table Special Citation “Show Savior” for Richard III/2 Actors, Family Affair and Lucifa. OTHER CREDITS: Martin holds a B.F.A. in Acting from The University of Texas in Austin. He’ll also be seen later this year at The Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma City in the one man show Fully Committed.
Recently appointed Principal Keyboard in the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Alex Maynegre-Torra enjoys a versatile career as collaborative pianist, solo performer and music editor. Maynegre-Torra has been working as collaborative pianist at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at the University of Texas in Austin since 2010.
Active also in summer music festivals, he has been on the piano accompanying staff of the renowned Meadowmount School of Music in NY from 2008 to 2013. He has also held positions at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Hartt School in Hartford, CT.
Prizewinner in several competitions in the United States and Spain, Maynegre-Torra has appeared in concert with violinist Joseph Silverstein, cellist Lynn Harrell, violist Sheila Browne, flutist Tadeu Coelho, saxophonist Harvey Pittel, trumpeter Nathaniel Mayfield and the Emerson String Quartet, among others. As soloist he appeared with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut.
Maynegre-Torra also has a deep interest in revising standard piano reductions for instrumental concerto scores. In 2013 OvationPress published his piano reduction of Schelomo by Ernest Bloch. The original reduction of this piece is known in the field as one of the most impractical scores to read and to play.
Maynegre-Torra holds degrees from the “Conservatori del Liceu” in Barcelona, the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT, and the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he completed his DMA in Collaborative Piano under the tutelage of Anne Epperson. His other teachers include Enric Torra, Luiz de Moura Castro and Dr. David Westfall.
He currently lives in Austin with his wife Beth and sons Òscar and Fèlix.
Maestro's choice recordings, Purchase recommended recordings from Amazon.com and help support the ASO
La Creation Du Monde / Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit / Saudades do BrasilPurchase at Amazon
Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks / Don Juan / Death and TransfigurationPurchase at Amazon
Prokofiev: Sneaky Pete and the Wolf/ Carnival of the AnimalsPurchase at Amazon