Giora Feidman 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Giora Feidman is a busy man which, considering he is the world’s most acclaimed proponent of klezmer music, is hardly surprising. The 74-year-old Argentinean-born musician spends so much of his time traversing the globe to perform on the world’s grandest stages, that he doesn’t have much room left in his diary to give concerts here.
On October 9 Feidman will make a rare appearance at the Tel Aviv Museum to mark the launch of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance’s (JAMD) new klezmer music chair. The new academic endeavor is a pioneering move in a genre that is normally associated with providing the jolly musical backdrop for shaking a leg or two at weddings and other festive occasions. But the academy is taking the klezmer very seriously.
“We are proud to be the first in Israel and the world to lead an
academic educational institution devoted to klezmer music,” says JAMD
president Prof. Ilan Schul.
“Through performance, teaching and research, we will nurture and further
this unique music, which has such a strong significance for the Jewish
The JAMD could not have made a better choice of performing artist for
the inaugural event. Feidman is acclaimed around the world for his
mastery of klezmer music and his peerless instrumental skills. He made
aliya from Argentina in 1957 and walked straight into a berth with the
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), becoming the orchestra’s youngest
clarinetist. His global profile was pushed up a couple of more notches
when Steven Spielberg invited him to play the clarinet solos for the
soundtrack of Schindler’s List
, which won seven Academy Awards.
Feidman also has some personal experience of initiating new academic and
musical projects as the founder of the “Clarinet and Klezmer in the
Galilee” seminar and master class program, which takes place every year
During the course of the last half century, Feidman has put out dozens
of superlative recordings with top klezmer troupes and classical
ensembles alike. Last year, for example, he released the Klezmer &
Strings album, recorded with the Gershwin Quartet, which offers a
beguiling mix of mostly klezmer-oriented classical works, as well as a
work transcripted by Feidman’s wife, composer-cellist Ora Bat Chaim.
Characteristically for Feidman, there is also an expansive foray into
other domains, including a joyously energized medley of George Gershwin
numbers and a taste of Argentinean nuevo tango composer Astor Piazzolla.
All of that is a reflection of the organic synthesis of cultural and
musical influences that flow through Feidman. Indeed the JAMD, on so
many counts, went for broke by opting for Feidman as their featured gala
Besides his polished stage and studio work, Feidman embraces many
musical avenues, all of which flow seamlessly through his klezmercolored
output. This allencompassing approach, teamed with his dynamic
personality and captivating storytelling skills, has helped Feidman get
the klezmer message out there, across the world, and has opened up new
artistic vistas within the genre, as well as tapping into new consumer
The new JAMD chair will, no doubt, benefit from that ethos – as will the audience on October 9.The Jerusalem Academy of Music and
Dance’s klezmer seat inaugural concert will take place at the Tel Aviv
Museum at 9 p.m. on October 9. For ticket information:
Castel at *8965.