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Jeff Beal

BIS Records is proud to announce the release of House of Cards Symphony and other works by American composer Jeff Beal on 24 August 2018 in both digital and SACD formats. The composer also conducted all of the performances by Sweden's Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and renowned soloists Sharon Bezaly, flute and Jason Vieaux, guitar.

Composer Jeff Beal always wanted to address the larger scope and possibilities of classical composition in connection with film. From the start of his work creating the music for this internationally acclaimed Netflix series (soon to present its sixth and final season), there were not just characters, sets and action: the composer also saw themes, movements and ideas that rival the inspiration of great symphonies. The House of Cards Symphony is a culmination of this journey to express a timeless story through the power and majesty of the orchestra.

Beal explained the creation of the symphony: 'This is concert music first and foremost for me - a bit of a coming-out party as a classical composer, but it's part of what I would call a new eclectic approach to the concert hall. By combining these two disparate threads of my work - soundtrack writing and the symphonic world - I think the recording shows my voice in a new way.'

Each of the ten movements of the House of Cards Symphony is built around a thematic idea or character from the series. Jeff Beal knew that beneath House of Cards' classic political intrigue and tragedy set in the modern context there was the perfect platform for a musical approach that reaches beyond the screen and into the hearts of symphony audiences everywhere. House of Cards in Concert was created as a way to bring this small-screen experience into the concert hall, and the House of Cards Symphony was born. The orchestration and material have been expanded and developed to utilize the power of the full symphonic ensemble, while the core instruments of the House of Cards soundtrack - electric and bass guitars, drum kit, piano and flugelhorn - remain.

The decision was made to record a two-disc set for the Swedish BIS label, with four other Beal works: Six Sixteen for guitar and orchestra (performed by Grammy Award-winner Jason Vieaux), Concerto for flute and orchestra (featuring Sharon Bezaly, who was soloist for the work's May 2017 premiere by the Minnesota Orchestra), Canticle for strings and a new House of Cards Fantasy for flute and orchestra.

The Norrköping Symphony Orchestra has received international acclaim for its recordings of the music of the twentieth century modernist composer Allan Pettersson, but here, under the direction of composer Jeff Beal himself, it has taken to the new idiom and welcomed the additional instruments necessary to bring out that House of Cards feeling.

Jeff Beal's film music career began to take off with his work on the acclaimed film Pollock (2000). He is a five-time EMMY winner, and his approach is a favorite for more sophisticated works. His TV credits include HBO's Rome, Carnivàle and the Netflix series House of Cards. His documentary work includes Blackfish, Weiner, The Queen of Versailles, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power and Boston, a documentary about the history of the Boston Marathon. Film projects include Shock and Awe (directed by Rob Reiner) and Bigger (directed by George Gallo). Recently, Jeff Beal's performing, conducting and composing worlds have begun converging. He conducted the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in the première of House of Cards in Concert, with further performances in Miami, the Netherlands, Denmark and Jerusalem. He also led the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra for the 'live-to-picture' première of Boston, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for his score to Buster Keaton's 1926 film The General.

Beal's commissioned works have been performed by many leading orchestras, including the St Louis, Rochester, Pacific, Frankfurt, Munich, and Detroit symphony orchestras. Conductors performing his music have included Marin Alsop, Carl St Clair and Neeme Järvi. Kent Nagano commissioned and premiered two works, Alternate Route for trumpet and orchestra with Beal as soloist, and Interchange for string quartet and orchestra. Other commissions include the ballet Oasis for Smuin Ballet, Light Falls for the World Science Festival, The Salvage Men for The Los Angeles Master Chorale, the ballet Terra for Oregon Ballet Theater, Beneath Thin Blanket for Cantus, and works for the Ying String Quartet, Debussy Trio, Henry Mancini Institute, Chamber Music Festival of Lexington and Grammy winning guitarist Jason Vieaux.

Current commissions include new works for the St Louis Symphony and soprano Hila Plitmann, New West Symphony, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Buglisi Dance Theater.


Posted: 1 September 2018

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