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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Reaching a higher note

  • Improvisation and its significance to music, was the focus of discussion students from the Delaware Valley School District recently had with graduate Eugene Feigelson and his father Yosif Feigelson. Members of the district's orchestra met with the father and son duo during a workshop which was followed by a performance from the musicians.
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  • Improvisation and its significance to music, was the focus of discussion students from the Delaware Valley School District recently had with graduate Eugene Feigelson and his father Yosif Feigelson. Members of the district's orchestra met with the father and son duo during a workshop which was followed by a performance from the musicians.
    Based in Milford, Kindred Spirits Art Program brings performances to the region and local schools. Feigelson happens to be the founder and artistic director of the non-profit organization that has brought other shows to the district.
    The website of Kindred Spirits reads that, "through music and art, a greater appreciation and sensitivity to the beauty and value of nature," will be achieved. Often, up-and-coming artists present their talents at Grey Towers and in area schools. One of the primary reasons for the shows, Feigelson said, is to help the students develop their music abilities and maintain their interest. When speaking to the students, he said part of the purpose was to show them the connection between music and language that is part of the creative process. To Feigelson, music is a universal language that, "has no barriers."
    Feigelson recently returned to the states from London where he resides. In London, aside from teaching at Kings College he is also working on his doctorate on improvisation in classical music. Music, he said is, "great because everybody is musical."
    Rather than just focusing on music, Feigelson also has his hand in film and TV. Most recently, Feigelson performed the theme song from England's version of the ABC network show, "The Taste." He has finished his first feature length film soundtrack and he runs a festival called, "I = U."
    Initially, Feigelson started as a classical violin player, but because there isn't a great demand for that instrument, he explained that as a struggling musician he decided to expand on his interest which wasn't really occurring as a member of an orchestra. In an orchestra, he said, the musicians are playing pieces that have already been written. And so, because he loves being creative, Feigelson decided to branch out and start composing and improvising because that, "feels much more self-expressive."
    Film though, Feigelson said, is what he would love to continue doing and he has completed a feature film called, "Bonobo," that is going through the film festival circuit in Europe at this time. As of now, the film is not online because Feigelson is looking for distribution.
    Feigelson believes his love for music originated when he was a child, as he would travel to Europe to see his father perform at music festivals. It was the contrast between what he would see in the United States and Europe that enticed his interest, he said.
    As of now, Feigelson said he plans to continue with music because it has, "always been a vehicle." Since the age of 16, Feigelson has been teaching and at the workshop at DV, he said the students responded well to his lessons. Playing on the piano, Feigelson practiced different notes and spoke about improvising as the students stood around the piano and listened. There were points when the students were so interested in playing their own instruments, that Feigelson had to work to get their attention.
    Page 2 of 2 - During the performance, Feigelson presented a power point that focused on, "liberating musicality." Discussing improvising, one student said it means to, "fly by the seat of your pants." Feigelson encouraged the students to continue playing after they graduate high school, because of music's role in peoples' everyday lives. Everyone is musical, he said, and through improvising it is about, "bringing us in the moment."
    Having Feigelson visit the school, Orchestra Director Dave Swinehart said was special because his success shows students that they can continue with music after they graduate. Swinehart founded the orchestra program 24 years ago and he said music is a lifelong skill. Aside from presenting to the students at the high school, earlier in the day, Feigelson and his father entertained students at the Dingman Delaware School. At both schools, Swinehart said the students were attentive and energetic.
    Since its initiation, Swinehart said the orchestra program has, "grown immensely," with students as young as third graders learning how to play the instruments. At this time, he estimated that there are 400 to 450 kids in the district involved in the program.
    There are students, Swinehart said, that are almost playing college level music. Some graduates have gone onto attend colleges that include: Berkley, Penn State and Julliard. There are students however, he said, who are like Feigelson who take "classical and marry it with the contemporary." He suggested that people should be creative because there aren't any limits, and there is a chance that people will create something that hasn't been done yet. Someday, that creativity will allow for the person to become, "a legend or a maverick." Feigelson called Swinehart an, "absolute inspiration."
    The 7th Annual Scholarship Benefit Concert, will occur March 8th at the DVHS, where students from the entire music department will perform. This concert is the only one where the community will hear the band, chorus, orchestra, jazz band, chamber choir, chamber orchestra and electric string quartet and sometimes a barbershop quart perform. Tickets are $5.
    To hear some of Feigelson's latest compositions visit www.soundcloud.com/Eugene Feigelson. He also has a website that is currently under construction, but will be fixed soon: www.EugeneFeigelson.com.
    Feigelson also has a website www.yfeigelson.com. And the Kindred Spirits website is: www.kinderspiritsprograms.org.

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