Singer teams with S. Shore Symphony

Grace McQuade

Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter Jimmy Webb, the only songwriter with hits in pop, country, disco and rap, now adds a classical nocturne to his catalog.

Scott Jackson Wiley, music director of the South Shore Symphony Orchestra and pianist Jeffrey Biegel announce the New York premiere of Jimmy Webb’s Nocturne for Piano and Orchestra (Nocturne for “Lefty”) on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Madison Theatre, Molloy College in Rockville Centre.

Known for legendary hits, including “Wichita Lineman,” and “MacArthur Park,” the Grammy-award winning songwriter and member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame teamed up with Biegel and the South Shore Symphony for this unique project, funded by the Rockville Centre Guild for the Arts.

Following the premiere, Webb will join the South Shore Symphony to perform his hits, including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Up, Up and Away,” and others.

Nocturne for “Lefty”, composed by Webb for pianist Biegel, was orchestrated by Webb together with Grammy-winner Jeff Tyzik.

Webb dedicated the work to his wife and partner Laura Savini.

About the composition, Webb said: “This music originated in discussions I had with my wife about famous nocturnes such as ‘Moonlight Sonata’ and others. The piece depicts different aspects of nightfall; the mathematical exactitude of life in the city, the splendor of night skies and full moons partially obscured by cloud, the gentle rise and fall of human conversation in social gatherings and the dizzying whirl of waltzing on a seaside esplanade. It is essentially an opportunity for the listener to contemplate their own experiences during the hours of darkness. It includes a personal tribute to the music of Miles Davis, and the smoky dives and small clubs where I performed in my early years: the kingdom of the lonely and disillusioned. ‘Lefty’ is my wife, Laura Savini, of PBS fame, a raving beauty who is also a Southpaw. The notes have been inspired by her joy and devotion to art.”

Orchestrator Tyzik noted, “It was a great pleasure to collaborate with Jimmy Webb on his new multi-faceted composition Nocturne for Piano and Orchestra (Nocturne for “Lefty”). I have been a great admirer of Jimmy’s huge body of work since the 1960s and I was honored to be a part of orchestrating his beautiful music for symphony orchestra. Jimmy writes from the heart and continues to be an inspiration for all songwriters.”

Collaborator Biegel added, “The sonic landscape of Jimmy’s piece is instantly ear-catching and beautifully laid out for the piano. One reason I approached Jimmy is because he is a songwriter and his sense of melody and harmony suit the genre for piano and orchestra. He treats the piano in a unique style which immediately grabbed my attention the moment I received the piano part.”

Webb’s compositions have always been highly influenced by classical music and structure.

He is a student of classical music and was deeply inspired by the opportunity to create this piece.

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Grace McQuade

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