Virtuoso pianist to mix Beethoven concert, commentary on Sept. 23

September 04, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- Juilliard-trained piano virtuoso Jeffrey Siegel, who has appeared as a soloist with some of the world’s great orchestras, will provide an engaging concert of music by Beethoven, along with commentary in a format he calls Keyboard Conversations. The Power and Passion of Beethoven program will begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, in Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium and will feature Beethoven’s "Moonlight" and "Les Adieux" sonatas, "Fur Elise" and the German composer’s variations on the familiar "God Save the King."

Tickets for the Center for the Performing Arts presentation are $36 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student and $26 for a person 18 and younger. Buy tickets online at or by phone at 814-863-0255. Outside the local calling area, dial 800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Penn State Tickets Downtown (weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the HUB-Robeson Center (weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and the Bryce Jordan Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

“Each work on the program will be performed in its entirety, just as one would expect to be the case at a formal solo piano recital,” Siegel said. “What we like to think of as being the plus is that prior to the performance of each composition on the program, I speak to the audience a bit about the music in non-technical language and usually with some illustrations of the work that they are about to hear, out of context, so that when I sit down to play the piece straight through, just after talking about it, hopefully the audience will feel that they are on the inside track, that they’re getting more out of the listening experience than might otherwise be the case.”

Both classical music devotees and novices seem to enjoy Siegel’s approach.

“I would be the first one to defend the principle that it’s not necessary to [provide commentary],” Siegel said. “On the other hand, avid concertgoers have told me that it makes their listening experience more meaningful than an ear wash of sound. And, of course, the Keyboard Conversations reach out and make the listening experience for the non-concertgoer much more inviting and accessible.”

The Keyboard Conversations format ends with Siegel answering questions from audience members.

The performance of the "Moonlight Sonata" is part of Moments of Change, a Penn State Institute for the Arts and Humanities multifaceted and ongoing initiative focused in 2009–10 on the late 18th century (1776–1801). The performance is made possible through a partnership between the Center for the Performing Arts and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

Bill and Honey Jaffe and Bud and Carol Rowell are sponsoring the performance. Foxdale Village, a Quaker-Directed Continuing Care Retirement Community, underwrites classics presentations. WPSU-FM is the media sponsor. Because the presentation includes commentary, Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before the performance.

Last Updated September 14, 2009