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Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues
Hometown: Chicago
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"Gritty Chicago blues and rarefied classical chamber music might not seem like a match made in heaven --- until you've heard Corky Siegel bring the two together ... a crowning achievement." - Chicago Tribune

Is it blues, is it classical?

Walking the line between Beethoven and B.B. King and armed with the creative genius and instrumental prowess that have defined his career for nearly four decades, Corky has pioneered an original, genre-busting Chamber blues - a fresh, innovative sound capturing the sparkling qualities of classical music merged with the emotional melodic style of blues, all within an intimate chamber setting.

Under Corky's lead, The West End String Quartet and percussionist Frank Donaldson complete the Chamber Blues Band. Described by critics internationally as: remarkable, astonishing, extraordinary, hot, mesmerizing, joyous and outrageous fun, their music and concerts have delighted diverse audiences globally and their genre-defying presentations are drawing new and old concert-goers to places they have never been before.

Audiences don't merely like it, they love it. - The Banff Centre - Canada

"Chamber Blues was neither my idea nor my fault. It grabbed me and it won't let go!" - Corky Siegel

My greatest inspiration in my life has been the blues. What an amazing opportunity in 1966 at Pepper's Show Lounge in the south side of Chicago as a young musician blues lover to be part of the house band that hosted Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon, Hound Dog Taylor, Little Walter, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Buddy Guy and all the great blues masters you can think of. What an experience to be taken under the wing of these people.

And then this Japanese fellow shows up in 1966 and wants my band - Siegel-Schwall - to jam with his band. His band was the Chicago Symphony and he was Seiji Ozawa. He explained that blues was the very spark that classical music needed. Traditionally classical music forms borrowed from the folk forms of the day. And what more important folk form is there then the blues? As a young conductor, early in his career, and considered to be among the top 10 in the world, all eyes were upon him. Now he is going to bring a hippy blues band on stage with him and the Chicago, Boston, and New York Philharmonic orchestras.

Understand, it was Seiji that was thinking out of the box and taking all the risks. We hired the talent of William Russo to work with Siegel-Schwall and create "Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra." (Read more about the story of "Symphonic Blues.")

Over the years as we performed together with many orchestras, and recorded 2 projects for Deutsche Grammophon, Seiji insisted that I pursue this juxtaposition of blues and classical. At first I wasn't interested. But that didn't matter, it pursued me. Eventually in 1983 I just fell in love with the idea. Took me long enough! In 1988 Chamber Blues gave it's first performances.

Music, Video, Image and Lyric Samples:

corkybio1-06.pdf - The Sinaloa Symphony Orchestra of the Arts shares the stage Corky Siegelīs Chamber Blues in a concert set for 8:00 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Angela Peralta Theater.

Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues
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