Video: Conductor Starts Concerto Without Soloist

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 12:00 PM

The Louisiana Philharmonic begins a premiere without the soloist The Louisiana Philharmonic begins a premiere without the soloist (Youtube)

Updated 11/13

A Veteran's Day concert by the Louisiana Philharmonic faced an awkward moment on Monday, when the orchestra began a newly commissioned piano concerto without the soloist in place on stage.

The Philharmonic was set to premiere Dreams Of The Fallen, a new concerto written for the occasion by Jake Runstead. A video posted on Youtube shows the composer giving a lengthy introduction, after which the camera pulls back and sweeps over the audience. Conductor James Paul then launches into the piece but with one problem: piano soloist Jeffrey Biegel is nowhere to be seen.

The conductor stops, Biegel makes his entrance to chuckles from the audience, and the performance begins again.

(In the comments below Biegel gives his account of what happened in the video, which was first posted on the blog Slipped Disc and later picked up by Classic FM. Biegel later clarified to WQXR that the entrance was not the fault of the page-turner but a misunderstanding in stage cues. The video has since been removed from YouTube.)

The video comes soon after another video made the Internet rounds that appeared to show pianist Maria Joao Pires momentarily panicking as she realized that the orchestra had started the wrong concerto. As some observers have later noted, that video was filmed in 2009 and featured a rehearsal, not a formal concert.


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Comments [3]

jeffrey biegel from NY

That is correct. I know you were. I am not sure why it happened. But it was clearly a case of simple human error.

Nov. 12 2013 06:14 PM
JT Kane

I usually don't do this but I have to defend myself since I was the page turner. I was not on stage before James Paul started. I was following you Jeffery. You can clearly see that from the video.

Nov. 12 2013 05:44 PM
Jeffrey Biegel from NY

(I received your request while in-flight to NY). In summation, "Dreams of the Fallen" is a fantastic piece--one of the best I have learned and premiered by a composer of only 27 years young. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is terrific orchestra with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans. Maestro James Paul is absolutely amazing. He is a serious and fine musician, as he led inspiring rehearsals and a stellar performance. Simply answered about the mishap, truly a human error: Maestro was on the podium for pre-performance presentations by James William Boyd, CEO of the LPO, and the composer, Jake Runestad spoke eloquently about what the audience was about to experience. Normally, I enter with the conductor, however, this was a special event in the National WWII Museum. I waited until the piano lid was raised to make the usual entrance, and apparently, Maestro Paul had thought I was already seated, as you can see from the video. The page turner was there in peripheral vision. In the end, much ado about nothing here. We honored veterans, many seated in the audience. It resulted in a brilliant performance of a staggering new work, surely to become a staple in the repertoire. Bravo Jake Runestad, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Chorus of New Orleans and the heartfelt delivery by actor, John Goodman in Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait".

Nov. 12 2013 02:03 PM

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