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Feidman, Giora


FEIDMAN, GIORA (1936– ) clarinetist, fourth generation of a klezmer dynasty. Born in Argentina, he studied clarinet with his father, a well-known Klezmer, and from age 14 played with his father at Jewish weddings. He studied at the Buenos Aires conservatory and at 18 was leading clarinetist of the Colon theater orchestra. On the recommendation of Paul *Kletzki, Feidman joined the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1957, playing with it until 1974. During this period he taughtat the Tel Aviv Academy of Music and participated in radio recordings of Israeli folk music. Feidman turned to Klezmer music only in the mid-1960s. When recording for Kol Israel, he decided spontaneously to record the popular tune "Silk Pyjamas" in Klezmer style; it was received so well that Feidman repeated his initiative several times. Feidman concluded that "this is what the Israeli public yearns for."

In 1969 Feidman was a soloist at the first hasidic music festival. There he met the well-known, self-taught Klezmer Moshe (Musa) Berlin, who invited him to play at Meron, where Giora was introduced to Israeli Klezmers and encountered a repertoire influenced by Greek, Turkish and Arab music, new to him. From the outset his playing was distinguished by two styles of performance: one, the familiar eastern European enriched by Feidman's restrained, gentle style with which he performed Hasidic tunes, and improvisatory pieces which he termed "tefillah" (prayer); the other, his innovative use of a bass-clarinet in addition to clarinet, in the course of a single tune. He toured abroad popularizing Klezmer music among Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, bringing it to concert halls and even to churches and monasteries. His Master classes in Israel and abroad helped entice young musicians, Jewish and gentile, to this type of music and Klezmer bands began to sprout in Israel and Europe. Feidman did not hesitate to infuse his "Klezmer music" (which included traditional Ḥasidic niggunim, Yiddish songs and a few select Israeli tunes) with artistic music, both classical and modern, fitting Klezmer's openness. Feidman's publications include dozens of recorded albums and about fifteen anthologies from his repertoire. His music was featured in many films, among them Schindler's List and Love Story.

His father levi feidman (1903–1980) was born in Kishinev, to a Klezmorim family. His father Gedaliah and his grandfather both played the trombone. Gedaliah's band, which included Gypsy musicians, played at both Jewish and non-Jewish events, with a repertoire based mainly on Jewish material and its style Jewish-Bessarabian, with Gypsy influences. After World War i, Levi moved to Argentina. In Buenos Aires he supported himself playing the saxophone but also learned the clarinet and bass-clarinet. By 21 he had already mastered the clarinets, all the saxophones, flute and piccolo and played with different bands. After immigrating to Israel in 1965, he quickly integrated into the Israeli music scene, playing in the opera orchestra and at weddings with various Klezmorim. The Klezmer convention in his memory led to the annual convention at Elkana led by the Klezmer Musa Berlin.

[Y. Mazor]

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