Joel Feigin

Joel Feigin

Fellow: Awarded 1985
Field of Study: Music Composition

Competition: US & Canada

Cornell University

Joel Feigin, who was born in New York City in 1951, is a composer whose music has been heard across the U.S. and abroad, from France and Germany to Taiwan and Korea. His works have been widely praised for their "very strong impact, as logical in musical design as they are charged with emotion and drama" (Opera Magazine).

Feigin’s many honors include a Senior Fulbright Fellowship at the Moscow State Conservatory in Russia (1998-1999); his Guggenheim Fellowship supported the writing of his first opera, Mysteries of Eleusis, commissioned for Theatre Cornell and produced there in 1986. The complete opera was presented again in 1999 at the Moscow Conservatory, which requested a chamber version that it produced in 2000 as part of the Russian-American Festival of Operatic Art. Feigin’s latest opera, Twelfth Night, based on the play by William Shakespeare, was chosen by New York City Opera for its VOX 2003 series of readings showcasing American composers. A chamber orchestra version of Twelfth Night, commissioned by Long Leaf Opera in North Carolina, was premiered by them in 2005. A scene from that version was featured in the New Works Sampler at the 2006 Opera America Conference in Seattle, Washington.

Feigin’s most recent commissions have come from the Fromm Music Foundation, for a concerto for piano and chamber orchestra to be written for the Israeli-American pianist Yael Weiss, and from pianist Margaret Mills for Variations on Empty Space, which she premiered in December 2008 at Weill Concert Hall at Carnegie Hall. Among other highlights of Feigin’s career, a 2-CD set on North/South Recordings followed a full evening of his chamber and vocal works performed by Musicians Accord at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Concerts devoted solely to Feigin’s music have also been given in Armenia and Russia.

Five Ecstatic Poems of Kabir by Joel Feigin has won two prizes in the Third Millennium Ensemble Composers’ Competition: first prize in the overall category plus the Cheryl A. Spector Prize for the best piece by a GLBT composer.

A student of Zen Buddhism and Professor of Composition at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Feigin studied with Nadia Boulanger at Fontainebleau and with Roger Sessions at The Juilliard School.



Profile Photograph by Ryosuke Yagi.

Scroll to Top