Jeffrey Siegel Impromptu, Thursday at 11:00 PM
July 3rd, 1988, tens of thousands stream into Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago. WFMT’s Ray Nordstrand prepares to host the big broadcast with the Grant Park Orchestra, which will culminate in the city’s fireworks extravaganza. As usual, the opening salvos will be timed with the canon fire at the end of the 1812 Overture. While the sun sets, Chicagoans stake out their turf for optimum views of the sky, and the orchestra offers American favorites by Gershwin. The soloist for that concert is a young pianist by the name of Jeffrey Siegel.
—That’s how long this pianist has been playing live on WFMT. Actually, he first played a live studio concert with Norm Pellegrini in the mid-60s.
Jeffrey Siegel has made his rounds on various orchestra broadcasts, traveling from New York, to London, to Berlin, to Chicago. Such is the life of a concert pianist, but this one decided to become a value-added pianist; he liked talking from the piano, and the audience seemed to eat it up. He decided there was a niche to be filled, so he launched “Keyboard Conversations.”
Since then, he’s made a PBS special, DVDs, and presented over 100 different programs. The Chicago native will come home for a WFMT Impromptu on Thursday at 11:00 AM. He will present a “Keyboard Conversation” called “The Glory of Beethoven” at Pick Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston on Friday.
Check out this video excerpt of a Jeffrey Siegel Keyboard Conversation: