A Phenomenon, a living legend, a career spanning more than 50 years, an ambassador, a
teacher, a mentor, a virtuoso clarinetist, The King of Klezmer... although true, Giora Feidman certainly doesn't like all those superlatives but prefers to consider himself as a servant that
dispenses spiritual nourishment to the humanity.
Born in Buenos-Aires Argentina in 1936, his parents were Bessarabian
Jews who escaped the persecutions. Feidman comes from a family of Klezmer musicians - his father,Leo, grandfather
and great-grandfather performed for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and holiday celebrations in the ghettos and Shtetls of
central Europe. Thus he was the fourth generation of Klezmer and he has been bathed and impregnated with Jewish
tradition, culture and music conjointly with Argentinian Tango. His father was his first teacher, his first source
of inspiration and he insisted that the young Giora studies the classics.
At 18 he was appointed member of the Symphonic and Opera Orchestra at
the Teatro Col?n in Buenos Aires.
In 1955 he was invited by conductor Paul Kletzky to play with the
Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and since then he settled down in the Holy Land.
He played at the Philarmonic for almost two decades (clarinet and bass
clarinet) with the most famous conductors. The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra was and still is now (conducted by
Zubin Mehta) one of the most prestigious and renowned orchestra in the world.
In the beginning of the seventies he left the Philharmonic Orchestra,
and one can say that this is the debut of the Klezmer revival, the resurgence, the renaissance after a few decades
Giora is the musician who initiated this rebirth, bridging the
generational gap, and since then he played a major role in preserving and nurturing the Klezmer music during the
past three decades.
"Klezmer is a way of live. We are born dancers
and singers. To express this natural force we need only one instrument: our body. In our everyday lives we hear
many languages spoken, we get confused by the multitude of nations, races and religions. Music dissolves all
borders. Music is understood worldwide by every human being, no matter of religion, nationality, language or skin
Giora Feidman is one of the most prominent musician of the past decades
who developed a unique musical language.
On stage his clarinet laughs, sobs, cries, narrates, titillates our
deepest emotions, tells the audience a marvelous story which is a universal message of brotherhood, he is
fascinating and captivating the listeners with his Nigunim always surprizing with something genuine, fresh and
The music of Giora Feidman nourishes itself from the treasures of Jewish
tradition but as a great artist he is in perpetual motion to search new ways of expression, Tango (which is a
quintessential part of his music), classical (Mozart, Schubert), genuine Jewish contemporary music (Issachar
Meron,Ora Bat Haim, the music of Middle Eastern Jewish communities living in Israel), original pieces specially
written for him (Helmut
Eisel), Theatre (Nothing but Music) , movie soundtracks (Steven Spielberg's The List Of
"Klezmer is an interpretation of art and life
based not solely on Jewish folklore, but rather on a cosmopolitan divergence of musical
Giora Feidman crosses the bridges, sweeps away the borders as he plays
Mozart's clarinet concerto, the lieder of Schubert, Gershwin's Summertime, Astor Piazzolla's Libertango, Tarras's
Freylakhs or Shalom Aleichem melody. Klezmer is no more a Jewish music it is a universal language, a cosmopolitan
language of our souls, there is no such thing as my music or your music, there is only music. Let us forget the
title of a song, the name of the composer, the style of the composition, its country of origin, and come to the
realization, that there is only one language - music."
No one can be so versatile, so prolific, he is an indefatigable
performer (more than 100 concerts a year) touring from town to town all around the world like his ancestors who
were traveling from Shtetl to Shtetl, from Weddings to Bar Mitzvah.
"Any performance, no matter where it is
given-along a street, in a concert hall or during a funeral-serves society. The musician uses his instrument to
give his very best"
Giora Feidman has performed with numerous ensembles and formations from
soloing performance to Symphonic Orchestra (Jerusalem Symphony), amazing duo with organist Matthias Eisenberg,
quartet with the renowned bandoneonist Raoul Jaurena, a concert in front of 800,000 people gathering around the
Pope, Chamber Music (The Safed Chamber Orchestra, The Israel Camerata, Arditti Quartet, Leipzig Chamber Orchestra)
or simply picking up his clarinet and playing a nigun for a few friends around the table after lunch...
“I don’t feel tired. Society shouldn’t dictate
at what age we should retire. When my father died, he had played in the morning the same day. God gave me these
hands and I will make use of them for as long as I can”
Giora is also a teacher who is avid to transmit his message, to share
his passion, to grow a new generation of Klezmer. This vision became a reality when he founded the "Clarinet and
Klezmer in the Galilee" seminar and master classes in Tsfat (Safed), an historic city in the heart of Galilee
overlooking the See of Tiberiade.
"Its the music that will remind us that we are
born as a member of one family to live together in unity, peace and tolerance."
The choice of the place was almost obvious, Tsfat(Safed) has the power
of a magnet, a spiritual magnet. This Old City is the cradle of the Jewish Mysticism, Spirituality and
Talented students of all nationalities and background gathered during a
week and share their passion of music with world renown teachers and musicians like Helmut-Eisel , Eddie Daniels, Raul Jaurena, Philippe
Cuper, Charles Neidich, Franklin Cohen, Jozsef Balogh, Ilan Schul, Eva Wasserman and many others. This
workshop is now an international festival which take place every summer: Clarinet
& Klezmer in the Galilee Music Festival with Giora Feidman.
"The main idea
behind this year's workshop is to serve spiritual food to a spiritually hungry society. We do not come on stage to
show off, but rather to share the music. We bring the best teachers from all over the world, such as Helmuth
Heisel, the leading klezmer musician in Germany; Franklin Cohen, principal clarinet player of the Cleveland
Symphony; outstanding bandoneon player Prof. Raul Jaurena from Argentina; Profs. Ilan Schul, Mauricio Paez and
Gersh Geller from Israel. We do not accept ensembles in the workshop, because my idea is to develop the music
personality of each individual. During the course, we create new ensembles from the seminar participants. I'm not
on stage, but in the hall, representing the average audience. What I say to the students is, 'Look we're here not
to show how good we are, but to play the music. You as musicians have to convince me, a member of the
Those words from Giora
Feidman resume perfectly his philosophy and his thoughts about music and music performance. The world is eager
for spiritual nourishment and our role as musician is to provide it to the hungry society.
Giora Feidman is the artistic director and a tremendous source of
inspiration for all the participants. He induces a unique musical experience and achievement.
Long Live Giora
Giora Feidman plays bass clarinet
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