Joel Feigin

Joel Feigin
Professor Emeritus
Composition Program




Joel Feigin is an internationally performed composer, whose operas, chamber, orchestral, and piano 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)
Mysteries of Eleusis, Feigin’s first opera, written on a Guggenheim Fellowship, was commissioned and premiered by Theatre Cornell. In 1999, it was featured at the Moscow Conservatory (Russia) and repeated at the Russian-American Operatic Festival. Feigin's second opera, Twelfth Night, based on Shakespeare's comedy, was premiered in Durham, NC in 2005, and was produced twice in the 2014/15 season, in Chicago, IL and Santa Barbara, CA.
Instrumental commissions include a Fromm Commission for Aviv: Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, written for Yael Weiss. Feigin has also received piano commissions from Leonard Stein and Margaret Mills, who included two works on her Cambria CD, Meditations and Overtones. Feigin’s most recent CD (MSR Classics) presents the large-scale chamber work Lament Amid Silence, featuring violist, Helen Callus. Concerts devoted solely to Feigin’s music have been given in Russia and Armenia, and in New York at Merkin Hall and Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium. Honors include a Mellon Fellowship, a Senior Fulbright Fellowship, and the Dimitri Mitropoulos Prize in Composition at the Tanglewood Music Center.
Dr. Feigin studied with Nadia Boulanger at Fontainebleau and with Roger Sessions at The Juilliard School. An accomplished pianist and accompanist, Feigin studied with Rosina Lhevine, and worked at the Metropolitan Opera in New York with Nico Castel.
The Joel Feigin Collection at the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center opened in 2011. A student of Zen Buddhism, Feigin is Professor Emeritus of Composition at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

To learn more about Joel Feigin, please visit


Lament Amid Silence (MSR Classics)

Joel Feigin, composer / Helen Callus, viola / Callus Viola Studio

Visit Fanfare magazine online (January/February 2013 issue) for a feature article on Joel Feigin.

"[This CD] makes its mark through a very personal and emotional combination of tonal and atonal elements. Opening quotes on the first page of the booklet state "Amid lament, there is silence; within silence, there is lament," and this is indeed the guiding principle Feigen uses in constructing this music. The opening Lament for solo viola is full of angst - much of the music here resembles Hindemtih - but there are also remarkably lyric interludes, brief soaring melodic lines that stand out, and of course many moments of silence which redouble the effect of the music. It must be said that violist Helen Callus is an extraordinary musician, able to elicit every mood and change of mood that Feigin has written into his score, and this opening movement is, for her, a real tour de force...Callus and her Viola Studio group play with exceptional feeling and virtuosity. This is the world premiere recording of this cycle of pieces, but truth to tell, it would be difficult to imagine anyone playing them as well, let alone better. Highly recommended to lovers of modern music."

- Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Issue 36:3 [Jan/Feb 2013]