" Klezmer is an interpretation of art and life based not solely on Jewish folklore, but rather on a cosmopolitan divergence of musical genres" Giora Feidman 

     
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Giora Feidman

His Life, His Achievements, His Dreams

Giora Feidman and his clarinet

 

    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.

  Giora Feidman playing bass clarinet. He is an artist who mastered bass clarinet superbly

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 of dormancy.

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 color."  

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 original.

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 Schindler).

"Klezmer is an interpretation of art and life based not solely on Jewish folklore, but rather on a cosmopolitan divergence of musical genres."

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 message.

"In this 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."

Giora Feidman

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 Kabbalah.

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 audience."

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

Giora Feidman plays bass clarinet

 

 

 

 

 

 




 


 

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Giora Feidman
"We have one Torah, one shofar, one flag, and the expression of all that is the nigun, any nigun. It's not a song, it's an energy which results from an interpretation of the faith."

 

 

 

"Long live Giora, his clarinet and his music! He builds bridges between generations, cultures and classes, and he does it with perfect artistry!" Leonard Bernstein