An Evening At The Symphony

The other night I had occassion to enjoy one of the most pleasurable events of my life. I can assure it ranks top-ten, hand in glove. I went to a performance at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in Medford, Oregon. The Rogue Valley Symphony conducted by Martin Majkut was featuring one of the world’s most accomplished virtuoso pianists, Jeffrey Biegel.

Shawn and I ready to hear lovely strains of virtuosic melody and dissonance.
Before the performance, we both found a willing chess partner.

We had a seat in the very last row in the balcony. It was an excellent seat with a terrific view of the entire orchestra as well as the lightening-fast hands of Jeffrey Biegel.

The piece de resistance for me was after the final encore, I asked the maestro if he would oblige me with a photograph. Mr. Biegel is one of the most genuine, down-to-earth, multi-talented, inspiring individuals I have ever had the honor to meet. Shawn snapped photos of us chatting.

I asked Jeffrey Biegel how long he had been playing piano to which he replied, “Now let’s see, I’m 50 so 47 years.” You do the math. Then I asked him if anyone ever told him he looked like Harold Ramis. He said with a bewildered look on his face, “Who’s that?” I told him that I am a clothing designer and would be posting the photos to my fashion blog.

His eyes lit up. Jeffrey Biegel is an internet pioneer and early adopter of bringing technology to the arts which you can read about in a New York Times article about the first ever cyberecital performed by him and transmitted over the internet in 1997.

When he realized I was a designer, he turned to my husband and said, “Look at you! You look so sharp.” To which I replied, “I dress him.”

Then my mischievous, irreverent side came out and as lightening- fast as his fingers travel across 88 keys, I said, ” Will you take a picture of us?”
He snapped the shot and said, ” It’s a keeper.”

The very next day, I went to the Rogue Valley Symphony performance in Grants Pass, the town where I live in Southern Oregon. I was determined to get Mr Biegel’s autograph on the program. He looked surprised, shocked really, to see me and I felt a little like a stalker. But no matter. I am a downy fledging piano student with a fire in my belly.
The performance was even better for me the next day. I was so enchanted at the final encore. He turned that grand, large, high-cieled space into an intimate place during the final notes of Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu played pianissimo. I wept thinking to myself, “Don’t let the song be over. Don’t let the song end.”

You be the judge and tell me that Jeffrey Biegel’s performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” is not one of the most amazing performances you have ever seen in your life. His artistry and sensitivity are par excellence. Enjoy!

Post Script:
I’m not sure if Harold Ramis is a Jeffrey Biegel look-alike or vice versa but you have got to admit there is a striking similarity.

Ciao for now!!

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