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Pioneer Pianist Turns to WWII Inspiration

March 23, 2020 | By Naturally Sharp Inc.


Naturally Sharp, Inc.

March 23, 2020


Pioneer Pianist of First Video Stream Turns to WWII Inspiration 


Lynbrook, NY – During World War II, legendary British pianist Myra Hess

formulated an idea: When the London blitz forced a blackout across England,

Hess saw her city emptied of its light, and the National Gallery eviscerated of its

artworks. The glum aura of the city reflected the morale of its citizens. Music,

Hess believed, was a source of happiness in peacetime; at the very least, it

could be a distraction from the harsh reality of wartime.


In coordination with the director of the National Gallery, Kenneth Clark, Hess

designed lunchtime concerts to be hosted at the gallery, located on Trafalgar

Square. From 1940 to 1946, more than 1,500 concerts drew hundreds of

thousands of Londoners seeking momentary respite from the constant stresses

of daily life in wartime.  Hess’ concerts were featured in the innovative British

propaganda film, Listen to Britain, released in 1942. Hess was made Dame

Commander of the British Empire in 1941, as a token of appreciation from King

George VI for her role in boosting morale.


In 1997, US pianist Jeffrey Biegel, created the first classical music video live-

stream from the rotunda of New York’s Steinway Hall, now an historic landmark.


As the world plunged rapidly into the current novel coronavirus pandemic, Mr.

Biegel turned to the inspiration of Dame Myra Hess to perform for people during

this unprecedented time of need. “Music is the language which unites us,

soothes us and brings healing spirit to our bodies, especially during times of

uncertainty. My piano at home is the voice of my prayer for everyone in the

world, undivided and in embrace of each other. I hope to bring music to

everyone each Saturday that my health allows, with music

spanning various styles and composers. As Dame Myra Hess gave music to a troubled people, I

will follow her muse and do the same in 2020.”


The first two performances at Mr. Biegel’s home took place on Facebook Live on

his personal page for friends, and on YouTube to a wider public around the

world. For the second transmission, he chose to begin the program with music

by Italian superstar, Giovanni Allevi, his ‘Go With the Flow’. Mr. Allevi watched

the concert from his home in isolation in Milan, Italy.


Music to Heal: March 14, 2020

Christmas in March: A Concert for Hope, March 21, 2020


Contact: Jeffrey Biegel








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