Jeffrey Chappell was a member of the Advanced Class of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop in New York City from 1999 to 2003. The workshop, considered by many to be the most prestigious of its kind, is named after its founding teacher and is sponsored by BMI, the music royalties and licensing operation. In the class, about forty composers and lyricists collaborate on projects, present them, and receive critiques from other class members and the teacher. Graduates of the workshop include Alan Menken, composer of “The Little Mermaid” etc. for Disney, and Maury Yeston, composer of the Broadway hit “Titanic”and current moderator of the Advanced Class.
Since joining the Workshop in 1996, Chappell has composed musical theater songs in collaboration with numerous lyricists, including a 10-minute musical with Mindy Weissberger and several projects with Ed Sugarman. Chappell’s works with Sugarman were featured in the New York City production of Sugarman’s “Lyrics By Me”. Chappell’s participation in the class has extended into his teaching at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., where he has given classes in songwriting.
Jeffrey Chappell was the conductor for “The Wizard of Oz” at the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center in Key West, Florida. The Keys Kids Production was cast with elementary, middle, and high school students from schools in the Florida Keys, and the orchestra consisted of members of the Key West Symphony.
Jeffrey Chappell was the music director for “Arpeggio Major”, Barry Knower’s winner of the Tampa Playmakers National Playwright Competition. The play, which is about a concert pianist, required a recorded soundtrack of standard classical repertoire, jazz improvisations, and music composed specifically for the action of the play. The Tampa Tribune wrote, “Jeffrey Chappell’s musical direction, performance and original compositions are brilliant, one of the clear high-points of the show.”
Jeffrey Chappell served as the onstage musician for the play “Butterfingers Angel” at the Olney Theater in Olney, Maryland.
Jeffrey Chappell was the music director, pianist, and arranger for “Hidden Voices,” a cabaret show on the topic of singers who dubbed for movie musicals. Starring soprano Ludmilla Ilieva, the show ran for over a year in New York City with runouts to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Time Out New York Magazine wrote about “musical director Jeffrey Chappell’s inventive arrangements” and the Washington Post mentioned “pianist (and occasionally vocal duet partner) Jeffrey Chappell contributing significantly to a very polished performance.”
Jeffrey Chappell accompanied the Stuttgart Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House of Lincoln Center in New York City and at the Opera House of The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He performed the Brahms Piano Concerto #2, choreographed by John Cranko as “Initials RBME”.
Jeffrey Chappell served as rehearsal pianist for Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for their production of “Marguerite and Armand”. The music was the Liszt Piano Sonata, choreographed by Frederick Ashton.
Jeffrey Chappell is the pianist in the recording of Paul Nordoff’s score, “Every Soul Is A Circus”, used in all performances of that work by the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Jeffrey Chappell accompanied the Ballet of Central China at the Opera House of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Jeffrey Chappell has improvised piano music for numerous silent films at the National Gallery of Art.
Jeffrey Chappell recorded the soundtrack of Russian piano music for the series “Wings of the Red Star”, produced by the Discovery Channel.
Jeffrey Chappell presented a lecture-recital at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City addressing the parallels between acting and performing music. The following is a transcript of the lecture: “In Music As In Acting”.