Brooklyn College adjunct professor of piano Jeffrey Biegel will perform with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) for the world premiere of a new work by celebrated composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on October 7, 2021, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Zwilich’s music will include texts by Lauren K. Watel and will be performed by Biegel and Grammy Award-winning Mezzo-Soprano Denyce Graves.

Biegel, who created and coordinated the project, said the work is an homage to her legacy.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life exemplified her legacy. Work hard for what you believe in, and in time, people will join with you. She loved music, opera in particular, and having Denyce Graves with us for this project will be a historic moment.”

Since 1999 Biegel has been a faculty member in the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, which boasts a diverse repertoire spanning the continuum of musical styles by composers of all nationalities, races and ethnic backgrounds. Biegel brings this vast wealth of repertoire to his students not for the sake of diversity in and of itself, but because the music and the composers bring forth a unique language representing their lives and diversity through their music.

Biegel is teaching his students exclusively remotely throughout the pandemic, but he feels the lessons are still getting through.

“I can safely share that teaching virtually does not take away from what is being taught, for the essence of the lessons are quite the same even if we are not in the same location,” Biegel said. “Although the sound quality is not the same as being in the same room, I can tell from the way my students approach the piano what the sound will be like whether I am in the same room or not. We are indeed very fortunate to have the technology to teach and maintain some of the lifestyle we would not have the opportunity to do without the means of technology.”

Biegel also composed his own musical tribute to Ginsburg in October titled, “Reflection of Justice: An Ode to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” The solo piano composition was composed over several days to also immortalize the legendary Supreme Court Justice who did so much for so many. Biegel was recently interviewed by Get Classical about his various commissioning work and his motivations. You can read that interview here.

Zwilich is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including being named the first woman ever to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1983 for her Symphony No. 1. This marks Zwilich’s third commissioned work for Biegel spanning two decades.

Zwilich’s latest composition pays homage to and remembers Ginsburg on the first anniversary of her passing in September 2020. The work has been co-commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, with generous support of the Norma and Don Stone New Music Fund, the Billy Rose Foundation and donors through the American Composers Forum. The performance will mark the compositional debut for Zwilich with the DSO.