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Joel Spiegelman (Harpsichord, Synthesizer)

Born: January 23, 1933 - Buffalo, New York, USA

The American pianist, harpsichordist, conductor and composer, Joel (Warren) Spiegelman, studied at the Yale School of Music (1949-1950), the University of Buffalo (B.A., 1953), the Longy School of Music at Cambridge, Massachusetts (1953-1954), and Brandeis University, where he attended the classes of Shapero, Fine and Berger (1954-1956; 1960-1961; M.F.A.). He also studied with Nadia Boulanger privately in Paris and took courses at the Conservatoire there (1956-1957, Certificat Musical Composition), as well as at Moscow’s Gnesin Institute (1966, Music of the Russian Avant Garde), and the Leningrad Conservatory..

Joel Spiegelman made his debut 1946 when he received national attention with a review in Musical America for a performance as piano soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic. His career has encompassed a variety of musical activities as composer, conductor, pianist, harpsichordist, teacher, and author. In the Spring of 1967, Spiegleman was chosen by Leonard Bernstein to perform and record as harpsichord soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in the New York premiere of the Russian avant-garde composer Edison Denisov’s work for harpsichord and orchestra, Crescendo e Diminuendo. He made tours as harpsichordist. He was director of the New York Electronic Ensemble from 1970 to 1973, and conductor of the Russian Orchestra of the Americans from 1976 to 1979. He has conducted and recorded with the leading symphony orchestras of Russia including the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Saint-Petersburg Classical Symphony, State Symphony of Russia, Mussorgsky Opera Company of Saint-Petersburg, Tchaikovsky Orchestra, Moscow Radio TV Orchestra, and Metro Philharmonic, an international youth symphony formed in Moscow by Spiegelman and composed of gifted young professional musicians.

Joel Spiegelman’s teaching career spans a thirty year period (1961-1991) during which he taught at the Longy School of Music (1961-1962), Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts (Instructor/Assistant Professor · September 1961 to June 1966 · Music Theory, History of Early Keyborad Music, Performer on piano and harpsichordist in Brandeis concert series), the University of California, San Diego (April-May 1966, Lectures on Avant Garde Soviet Music) and Sarah Lawrence College (Professor, Chairman of Music Ddepartment · Septemberr 1966 to June 1992, Music Theory & Composition, History of Music, Piano, Harpsichord, Baroque Music performance, Electronic music composition and techniques, perofrmer in chamber concert series), where he was director of its Studio for Electronic Music and Sound Media.

Joel Spiegelman is considered to be one of the most important creators of advanced music today. He touches a wide spectrum of musical forms. His genius marks the worlds of symphonic, electronic, chamber and choral music, as well as that of ballet and film. Spiegelman's music is performed world-wide. Over the last thirty years, he has enjoyed retrospective concerts of his works in Carnegie Hall, Saint-Petersburg (Russia), Vilnius, the Moscow Conservatory, and the Moscow Kremlin in January 2002.

Included in Joel Spiegelman's discography is his appearance as harpsichord soloist on CBS Records with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a recording of a work by the Edison Denisov. Spiegelman’s continuing interest in the possibilities of electronic media was further demonstrated in his transcription of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988). He used the then revolutionary sampling technology applied by inventor Ray Kurzweill. A recording was made of this transcription on the Kurzweill 250 Keyboard and released by East-West Records (a Time-Warner Communications label) in 1988 as “New Age Bach”. This recording is now being reissued over the internet world-wide by JSI Media, Inc. Prior to this recording, Spiegelman recorded the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) using a Hubbard harpsichord modeled after a Taskin Flemish two manual instrument in 1973. This recording was released in 1999 by Azzura Records for European distribution.

Joel Spiegelman was also Vice President for Business Development of Telecom21 from Janusry 1992 to June 1995. In this post he was interlocutor for all business dealings between AT&T, Telecom 21, and the Russian Association for Military Industry representing the Ministries of Telecommunications, Industry, Defense, Higher Education. He was Senior Executive Vice Presiden at Metro International in Stockholm, Sweden from September 1997 to July 2001. In this post he elped to expand the development of the Metro newspaper and associated companies in Russia, and other European countries. He was President of Stenbeck Foundation for Art from August 2001 to May 2003. As president of the Stenbeck Foundation for Art, he founded the Metro Philharmonic; a symphony orchestra made up of 110 young Russian, foreign, and CIS professional musicians of the highest quality.

Starting in March of 2010, Joel Spiegelman together with multimedia performance artist Gaya Morrell founded the world’s northernmost music platform on the sea ice called Uummannaq Music. It is located at the Children’s Home of Uummannaq, Greenland some 600 km. Above the Arctic Circle. In June of 2010, Spiegelman traveled to Kyrgyzstan after the uprising that brought about the first parliamentary democracy in the former Soviet Union and conducted a requiem concert in memory of those who perished as a result of the fighting. He returned to Kyrgyzstan to lead an international festival of music and the visual arts during May of 2012. The festival presented artists from Russia, the USA, Mexico, Greenland, Denmark and countries of the former Soviet Union.


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Source: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Naxos Website; The Artist (September 2012); Joek Piegelmam profile on Facebook
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2007); Joel Spiegelman (September 2012)

Joel Spiegelman: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Joel Spiegelman on Facebook
Joel Spiegelman (Naxos)

Uummannaq Music - The world’s northernmost music platform on the sea ice.

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Last update: ýNovember 28, 2012 ý22:51:55