Concerto for Piano and Orchestra




Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

Solo piano, 2222, 2121, timp, 1 perc, strings

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Concerto for Piano and orchestra

I. Alla breve (7:45′)
II. Adagio sentimentale (8:32′) III. Exuberant, in one (9:00′)

by James M. Stephenson

for Jeffrey Biegel

Co-commissioned by the New Hampshire Music Festival and the Traverse Symphony

Premiered on July 15, 2022 by Jeffrey Biegel and the New Hampshire Music Festival, Paul Polivnick conducting

duration: c. 25′ instrumentation:

solo piano, piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, Bass clarinet, 2 bassoons horn 1-2, C trumpet, trombone, Bass trombone, tuba
timpani, 1 percussion, strings

perc. needed: cymbals: suspended, splash, finger, china, hi-hat drums: snare, bass, kick, bongos
mallets: marimba, vibes, xylophone
other: wood block, wood slab, slap-sticks, triangle, tam-tam

Notes from the composer:

Set in three movements, this concerto is intended to explore and indulge Jeffrey Biegel’s unique technical abilities, while also creating a platform for his unguarded expression. Once I knew I was to be writing a new concerto for him, I went to hear Jeffrey perform a concerto to be performed nearby, and I knew immediately that I had a true artist on my hands with which to work.

I also wanted to focus on melodic content with this new concerto. The piece is rife with tunes, especially in the outer movements: at times romantic, at times even classic, but always written with sensibility to allow
the soloist to imbue the work with their own personal touches. The 2nd movement is more plaintive and moody, as if sitting by a lake; a nod to the New Hampshire Music Festival, where the concerto would be premiered under the baton of my good friend and musical colleague, Paul Polivnick.

I would sincerely like to thank Jeffrey Biegel for this opportunity to express myself in such a medium, and also to the New Hampshire Music Festival and Traverse Symphony and their respective directors, Paul Polivnick and Kevin Rhodes, for co-sponsoring the project.

~ Jim Stephenson; November, 2021

About Jim Stephenson:

After spending 17 seasons as a professional trumpet player, Stephenson moved his attentions toward full time composition at the age of 38.
Since then, he has found success in a variety of artistic platforms, including commissions by the Chicago Symphony (Muti), Minnesota Orchestra (Vänskä), St. Louis Symphony (Robertson), the San Francisco Ballet, as well as with the Boston Pops and Cincinnati Pops.
His Fanfare for Democracy was premiered at the Presidential Inauguration of Joe Biden by the “President’s Own” US Marine Band, who also commissioned his twice-awarded 2nd Symphony – VOICES.
Always a proponent of music education, Stephenson’s “Once Upon a Symphony” (née “Compose Yourself!”) has been performed nearly 400 times
by orchestras around the globe, for hundreds of thousands of children.
His solos and chamber music continue to be a mainstay amongst recitalists, many of whom stem from principal chairs in major symphony orchestras.
Jim resides near Chicago with his wife, Sally, and together they have four children, who bring them more joy than any musical piece ever could.

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