Hershey Felder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hershey Felder
Born (1968-07-09) July 9, 1968 (age 51)
OccupationMusician, actor, pianist
Spouse(s)Kim Campbell[1]
WebsiteEighty Eight Entertianment

Hershey Felder (born July 9, 1968)[2] is a Canadian pianist, actor, and playwright best known for his portrayals of classical composers and American songwriters on the theatrical stage.

Life and career[edit]

Felder was born on July 9, 1968, to Jacob Felder (born in Ustrzyki, Poland, 1929) and Eva Surek Felder (born in Budapest, Hungary, 1946). A first-generation North American, much of Felder's upbringing included Eastern European traditions; in particular traditions associated with the Jewish faith into which he was born.[citation needed]

Felder has traveled the United States and parts of Canada with his solo performances as Classical composers and American songwriters. His most acclaimed portrayals are that of Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He recounts moving to Los Angeles in 1994 where he spent a brief time working for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation interviewing Holocaust survivors in order to catalog their oral histories on film.[3] The following year, he was invited to take part as one of four interviewers to attend the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Poland,[citation needed] which led to his creation of George Gershwin Alone.[4]

In 2013, Felder received a letter from Russian officials extending an invitation for him to translate to the stage the life and times of Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. However, the very same month, Russian authorities were openly opposing and even oppressing their own gay citizens by passing anti-gay legislation. Since Tchaikovsky was, as historical documentation and testimony would indicate, himself a homosexual; Felder chose to title his work "Our Great Tchaikovsky" and perform it in the US only.[5][6] In 2017, Felder premiered Our Great Tchaikovsky at San Diego Repertory Theatre. It debuted in New York City at 59E59 Theaters on October 15, 2018.[7]

Felder's impersonation of American songwriter Irving Berlin centers around a factual event that took place in the composer's life: a group of carolers gather around Berlin's window at Christmastime in 1988 to sing White Christmas. The one-man show garnered mixed reviews from New York critics in September 2018. Praising his capable pianistic abilities and adapt look,[8] his acting and story-telling offerings were met with less than enthusiastic reception.[9][10] He has also portrayed on stage the life, times and music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin and Claude Debussy,[11] for which he has been praised as a "chamelion of musical characters".[12][13] The format and premise of each show varies depending on the composer. In Monsieur Chopin, the audience has arrived for a lesson with Chopin.[14] For "Beethoven", Felder adapted the book Gerhard von Breuning's Aus dem Schwarzspanierhaus, after spending 22 years of personal research on the life of Ludwig van Beethoven.[15] In 2016, Felder portrayed Leonard Bernstein Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters. Although praised for his musical renderings, Felder's presence was critiqued as: "Bearing no physical resemblance to the person we have just seen, and speaking in a voice whose accent and rhythms are utterly dissimilar to what we have just heard ..."[16]

Felder directed concert pianist Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane. It opened on July 22, 2014 at the 59E59 Theaters. An adaptation of the book The Children of Willesden Lane (written by Golabek), it tells the story of Golabek's mother during World War II at age 14. New York critic Charles Isherwood wrote that Felder "captured the voice of the adolescent Lisa effectively.[17][18]

As composer, Felder's Noah's Ark, an Opera has been performed with members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. His Aliyah Concerto on Israeli Themes for piano and orchestra has been performed in the United States and Canada. The suite Les Anges de Paris for violin and piano, Etudes Thématiques, as well as Song Settings (the poetry of Vachel Lindsay) have been performed on and recorded by the WFMT Radio Network in Chicago. In September 2010, An American Story was recorded with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, composed of members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, and conducted by Alan Heatherington.[citation needed]

Felder appeared on the February 21, 2019 episode of Jeopardy!; for which he narrated questions about composers while performing their music.[19] He is founder of Eighty-Eight Entertainment; which is a music-based production company that promotes his theatrical stage works.[20] A Steinway concert artist,[21] Felder is married to former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell.[22]


  • Broadway in Concert (2004)
  • Love Songs of the Yiddish Theatre
  • Back from Broadway
  • George Gershwin Alone (2005)
  • Monsieur Chopin (in association with WFMT Radio Network Recordings)
  • Beethoven As I Knew Him
  • An American Story
  • Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin (2018)


  1. ^ Anderson, Jon (April 7, 2005). "Meet Canada's `odd couple'". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  2. ^ Broadway World: Hershey Felder. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  3. ^ "Untitled Document". gershwinalone.com. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (June 10, 2013). "'George Gershwin Alone' review: 'S wonderful". www.sfgate.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Jones, Chris (April 18, 2018). "A letter from Russia adds some interesting politics to Hershey Felder's 'Our Great Tchaikovsky'". www.sfgate.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  6. ^ Schultz, Rick (July 25, 2018). "Review: Taking Tchaikovsky out of Russia's closet: Hershey Felder's "Our Great Tchaikovsky" at the Wallis". latimes. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  7. ^ Staff, Editorial (October 5, 2018). "Hersey Felder to Debut Our Great Tchaikovsky in New York". www.sfgate.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  8. ^ Sommers, Michael (September 5, 2018). "Hershey Felder As Irving Berlin: Say It With Music". www.nystagereview.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  9. ^ Green, Jesse (September 11, 2018). "Review: Puttin' on the Pathos in a Tribute to Irving Berlin". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019. Mr. Felder's acting is as broad as a silent-movie villain's, except that he's talking. And talking. Or, too often, singing.
  10. ^ Marks, Ken (September 11, 2018). "Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin". www.newyorker.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  11. ^ Hershey Felder Charms as Debussy in a Paris Love Story. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  12. ^ Schultz, Rick (May 31, 2019). "Review: Hershey Felder, chameleon of musical characters, slips into Debussy colors". www.latimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  13. ^ Hershey Felder Adds Surprise Character to his Debussy Play. Sam Hurwitt. April 9, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  14. ^ Harris, Garrett (September 20, 2019). "Hershey Felder does Chopin the right way". www.sandiegoreader.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  15. ^ Hershey Felder unveils “Beethoven”. Jill Weinlein. Los Angeles Times. Retrieves October 30, 2019.
  16. ^ Collins-Hughes, Laura (October 23, 2016). "Review: Nice Music, but in 'Maestro' He Doesn't Look a Thing Like Lenny". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  17. ^ Isherwood, Charles (July 22, 2014). "Repertory of Fear and Hope". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  18. ^ Thai, Ian (September 16, 2018). "Review: "The Pianist of Willesden Lane" by Theater J". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  19. ^ Hebert, James (February 21, 2019). "Ode to ... 'Jeopardy'? Hershey Felder, in town with Beethoven show at San Diego Rep, also will appear on NBC quiz show tonight". www.currant.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  20. ^ Eighty-Eight Entertainment, Retrieved October 30, 2019
  21. ^ Steinway Concert Artist: Hershey Felder retrieved October 30, 2019
  22. ^ Hampson, Sarah (April 12, 2018). "The ex-PM and the piano man". www.theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.

External links[edit]