A Musical Conversation: Guest Blog

15 Jan

Jeffrey Siegel (left) with Roy Schneider (right) at the first performance of Keyboard Conversations

Classical music, for some, has a reputation of being boring, intimidating, and sometimes aristocratic. I know for a fact that if I never dived deeply into the professional ballet field, I would have never been drawn to this branch of music. But, as many of you classical music fans probably know, once you begin to understand the music, you’re in for a treat.

Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel can begin that glorious process to smoothly pull you into a world of enchantment. His program is dedicated to change the complex and specialized vocabulary in a classical music-driven conversation to a casual, story- based one. This casual overtone is absolutely dependent on the story, as the formal and internationally experienced Mr. Siegel, along with an ominously massive Steinway and Sons Grand Piano, give anything but casual vibes. When I attended this event hosted by our very own Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee on the breezy Wednesday night of November 28, 2012, Mr. Siegel proved that he had a secret formula mastered for a moderately entertaining evening. His crisp descriptions of how a certain piece of music came to form in a language that any “man off the street” could have understood made classical music have a much lower barrier.

This first segment out of three titled, “Gershwin and Friends” included primarily well-known artists that inspired Gershwin to his genius, including Aaron Copeland, for example. I personally loved it when Mr. Siegel actually played an all-around Gershwin favorite, “I’ve Got Rhythm,” without syncopation (which is the placement of accent and stresses in music where they don’t normally occur) in order to stress how much Gershwin relied on this technique to successfully provide the jazzy-classical tune that we all love.

Since I’m sure I’ve got you feeling left out if you missed this event, I want to remind you that this is simply just the first segment out of the trifecta, and you can still attend the next two Keyboard Conversations performances. The next two events are on January 22th about “The Romantic Music of Chopin,” and on March 12th about “The Power and Passion of Beethoven.” Here’s a link to one of Jeffrey Siegel’s videos on YouTube from his segment on PBS, and also to his website. I encourage you to share your opinion by responding to this blog!


Roy Schneider is the Joseph J. Edlin Journalism Intern at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee. He is pursuing a degree in Communications with a focus in Public Relations.


One Response to “A Musical Conversation: Guest Blog”

  1. Amy F. Weinberger January 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Great pitch discrimination – I felt like you were talking right to me! Thank you.

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