Paul Orgel: From Bach to Bruce

Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 8:00pm
Memorial Chapel, 221 High Street, Middletown


Pianist Paul Orgel performs music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Preludes and Fugues No. 11 in F, BWV 880, No. 13 in F-sharp, BWV 882, and No. 14 in F-sharp minor, BWV 883 from the Well-Tempered Klavier, Book II ); Robert Schumann (Humoresque, Op. 20); and John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Neely Bruce (Helena Prelude,  Janesville Prelude No. 2, and Titusville Preludes No. 1 and 2 from Geographical Preludes [1999 – 2001]); plus "Tango" by Igor Stravinsky, "Graceful Ghost Rag" by William Bolcom, and "Stride Rite" (2003) by David Feurzeig.

Mr. Orgel is on the faculty of the University of Vermont, and taught piano at Wesleyan from 1984 to 1989.

Paul Orgel has performed concerts throughout the United States, Europe, and China as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and chamber musician. Critics have praised his playing for its “subtlety and attention to nuance” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “rare pathos” (New York Times), “brilliant technique, sense of humor and fantasy” (Bridgeport Post), “warmth and beauty of sound” (Barre-Montpelier Times Argus), and “power and grace” (Vermont Times). A versatile musician with wide-ranging interests and a varied repertoire, he has given notable concerts in such venues as New York’s Merkin Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Jordan Hall and the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, and at the San Francisco Conservatory.

Mr. Orgel has specialized in Czech music, performing programs of the complete piano music of Leoš Janáček, and music from Terezin, and as a scholar of classical performance practice, he has given recitals of Ludwig van Beethoven and Joseph Haydn on the Viennese fortepiano. He can be heard on recordings on CRI, (the GRAMMY Award-nominated “Music of Louis Moyse”, with flutist Karen Kevra), Capstone, (Fantasias by Curt Cacioppo), Phoenix USA (“Music from the Holocaust”: Berman, Haas, Klein, and Ullmann) and MSR (Suk, Chausson, and Reger). A recent project (“Alchemy of Genius”) paired Johann Sebastian Bach preludes and fugues with Frédéric Chopin nocturnes in recordings available online at Vermont Public Radio.

Mr. Orgel was educated at the Oberlin and New England Conservatories, and Boston University. He holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance from Temple University. Among his piano teachers were Russell Sherman, Irwin and Lillian Freundlich, and Harvey Wedeen. He was formerly on the piano faculties at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Wesleyan University, Swarthmore and Haverford Colleges, and is currently a member of the keyboard faculty at the University of Vermont, and a piano faculty member of the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. Advanced students from his private studio in northern Vermont have, for many years, been among the state’s most frequent award winners in competitions and audititions.