Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues blends classical, blues

What do you get when you combine a harmonica, percussion, and a string quartet? Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues of course! This hybrid musical adventure is the result of a marriage between Muddie Waters and Mozart. Classical music and the American born Blues unite for a joyful and quirky celebration of sound and a unique amalgamation of musical flavors.

Presented by the Visual, Performing and Literary Arts committee, Corky Seigel’s Chamber Blues will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1 in Bryan Hall Theatre. Admission is free.

The Chamber Blues players include Corky Siegel, harmonica and piano; Jeff Yang, violin; Mark Agnor, violin; Nell Flanders, violin; Jill Kaeding, violin; and Frank Donaldson, percussion.

At the early age of twenty, Siegel had a “lucky break” in his career when he formed the legendary Siegel-Schwall Band that toured the major rock palaces and clubs in the 60s and 70s. He was introduced to the blues at an internationally renowned blues club, named Peppers. There, his job included performances with blues masters themselves, such as Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf.

“My inspirations were these guys……These were guys that played with us on 43rd Street,” Siegel said.

Today, as a composer, singer, blues harmonica, piano player and songwriter, Siegel has earned an international reputation as one of the world’ greatest blues harmonica masters. He has received many awards for his talents, including the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest/Meet the Composer’s national award for the chamber music composition, and the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award for Music Composition.

Siegel has written and performed works for Arthur Fiedler and the San Francisco Symphony, the Grant Park Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra. His music has been choreographed by five different international ballet companies and has been used for many national television specials and motion pictures (i.e. the 1988 Olympic men’s figure skating competition, the 1997 World Championship skating competition with Olympic God Medalists, and Torvill and Dean). Siegel currently has seventeen recordings and numerous reissues dating back to 1965. He has recordings on various record labels such as Vanguard, RCA, Varese Sarabande, Alligator, Gadfly Records, and the prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophon.

Siegel continues to perform as a guest soloist with symphony orchestras world-wide, which have included the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Metropolitana De Lisboa in Portugal, and many more.
Corky’s newest project, with the West End String Quartet and Frank Donaldson on world percussion, blends classical and blues style in a chamber music setting. This innovative sound has earned tremendous acclaim throughout the country and continues to open doors for classical and blues/jazz listeners.

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