April 21, 2013
Our season closes with the Boston premier of Ellen Taafe Zwilich’s Shadows, commissioned by pianist Jeffrey Biegel and an international consortium of orchestras. Called “one of America’s most frequently played and genuinely popular living composers,” Zwilich is the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
“Zwilich’s blues-drenched three movement Shadows was packed with ear-catching effects… [Biegel] brought Gershwin-honed chops to a composition that lofted Tin Pan Alley into deep space.” Chris Waddington, Times Picayune
“Delivering one of the most exciting Springfield Symphony performances in recent memory, pianist Jeffrey Biegel, Maestro Kevin Rhodes and the SSO blew the roof off of Symphony Hall Saturday evening with a rip-roaring rendition of the Tchaikovsky B-flat minor Piano Concerto. Grand gestures, avalanches of tone, and fusillades of piano octaves hammered out at blinding speed were balanced by richly hued orchestral canvasses and elegantly phrased melodies arched above heart-rending harmonies.” The Springfield Republican
“Biegel and the [Muncie Symphony] orchestra combined in an entrancing interpretation of Duke Ellington’s New World A-comin’, a jazzy piece that showed why Biegel (like Ellington) is at home with most any kind of music. “Returning to the stage, Biegel provided the evening’s high point with his elegant rendition of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Although heard often in Muncie and all over the globe since its debut in 1923, “Rhapsody” never gets tiresome, especially in the hands of a masterful technician like Biegel. His execution of the music’s jazzy contrasts was perfect, and the orchestra responded to the challenge during its own moments.” Star Press (Muncie, Indiana)