BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Lee Mendelson Film Productions has announced the world premiere of the first-ever Peanuts Concerto for Piano and Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on March 23 at the SKYPaC in Bowling Green. The production is based on the legendary music of Vince Guaraldi, arranged by Grammy-winning composer, Dick Tunney, featuring pianist Jeffrey Biegel with Orchestra Kentucky, led by Music Director Jeff Reed.
This moving arrangement sets Guaraldi’s classic music from the Peanuts specials, into a three-movement work for piano and orchestra. It will be a wonderful introduction for families to hear the jazz writings of the late Guaraldi in a 21st century symphonic landscape. Guaraldi wrote and performed the music for the first fifteen animated Peanuts specials, until his untimely death in 1976.
The album, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the second most sold jazz album in history with over 4 million copies sold. Guaraldi started writing music for the never-aired documentary “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” in 1963 that Lee Mendelson Produced. When Mendelson, animator Bill Melendez and Peanuts’ creator, Charles Schulz, created “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” they turned to their friend Guaraldi to write the music for the special.
Guaraldi’s music and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” have aired every Christmas season since 1965, and the music from that special has become a timeless part of modern culture and the holiday season. In addition to that special, Guaraldi wrote the music for the next fourteen animated specials, some of which have been incorporated into this concerto.
Lee Mendelson Film Productions has been producing television and films since 1963, wining 11 Emmys along with 45 nominations, 4 Peabody awards, and Oscar and Grammy nominations. Lee Mendelson Film Productions is the publisher of the musical works of Guaraldi.
Biegel is one of the era’s most respected pianists, performing and recording classic repertoire and new works in contemporary classical and works of all styles. His recording of Kenneth Fuchs’s “Piano Concerto: Spiritualist” is part of the recording that won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium, with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, and produced by Tim Handley.
Biegel is professor of Piano at Brooklyn College and has commissioned many composers to write new works for piano and orchestra. Mr. Tunney and his wife, Melodie, have received ten Dove Awards, and a Grammy Award for “How Excellent Is Thy Name”, recorded by Larnelle Harris. They have recorded eight albums together, and Tunney has recorded five solo instrumental albums. The couple has penned more than 150 songs, many of which have been recorded by other Christian artists.
Maestro Jeff Reed has conducted the orchestras of Alabama, Augusta, Charleston, Detroit, Knoxville, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Omaha, Phoenix, Portland (ME), Quad Cities (IA), Sacramento, South Bend and Winston-Salem. He has twice appeared with the Royal Philharmonic at London’s Royal Albert Hall at the specific request of Neil Sedaka.