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Joel Feigin Biography

Joel Feigin is a composer whose works have been widely praised for their "very strong impact, as logical in musical design as they are charged with emotion and drama." (Opera)

Born in New York in 1951, Feigin studied with Nadia Boulanger at Fontainebleau and with Roger Sessions at The Juilliard School, where he received his DMA degree. The recipient of a post-graduate Mellon Fellowship at Cornell University, he also holds an undergraduate degree from Columbia University. At the Tanglewood Music Center, as an Aaron Copland-ASCAP fellow, Feigin received the Dimitri Mitropoulos Prize in Composition. Over the years he has been granted residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Millay Colony.

In 1986, Feigin was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to write his opera, Mysteries of Eleusis, which was commissioned for Theatre Cornell. An excerpt for soprano and orchestra, Prelude and Demeter's Scena, was later performed by the New Juilliard Ensemble, conducted by Joel Sachs. The full opera was produced again at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia - while Feigin was a Senior Fulbright Scholar there - and repeated the following year. In 2000, a chamber version of Mysteries was premiered and given six performances during the Russian-American Festival of Contemporary Operatic Art at the Moscow Conservatory.

First performances of two Feigin orchestral works have also taken place in Russia: Festive Overture was premiered by the Niznij Novgorod Symphony Orchestra; Mosaic in Two Panels for string orchestra was given both its world and U.S. premieres by Chamber Orchestra Kremlin. Feigin's other recent performances in America have included Giséle Ben-Dor conducting his Elegy, In Memoriam Otto Luening with the Santa Barbara Symphony.

Feigin's chamber and vocal music has been performed across the United States and in many countries of the world, from Germany to Greece, from Latvia to Korea. An all-Feigin concert by Musicians' Accord in Merkin Hall (NYC) resulted in the release of a 2-CD set of ten works on the North/South Recordings label.

"... this album is a necessary addition to collections of American music. [It] is firmly recommended as an introduction to what sounds to be an important new voice."
-Fanfare

An accomplished pianist and accompanist, Feigin was a student of Rosina Lhevine, and has worked with Nico Castel at the Metropolitan Opera and Antonia Lavanne at the Mannes College of Music. Recently, Feigin has performed his award-winning work, Veränderungen for violin and piano, with Ronald Copes of the Juilliard String Quartet and Echoes From the Holocaust with members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

A student of Zen Buddhism, Joel Feigin is an Associate Professor on the composition faculty in the music department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


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