Jill Feldman

Jill Feldman


• Born 1952


Among early and Baroque music specialists, soprano Jill Feldman has built a major reputation since the end of the 1970s, both for her prodigious technical skills and for her ability to communicate the meaning behind a text. She studied in San Francisco and the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she was a musicology major. Her studies in European and Elizabethan literature drew her to the music of Shakespeare's period, and she later became an expert in vocal styles of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Feldman studied with Lillian Loran and made her operatic debut in 1980 in the role of Music in a Berkeley, CA, production of Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo. She was also the recipient of an Alfred Hertz Scholarship that enabled her to pursue the perfection of her command of period vocal technique under Andrea von Ramm in Basel. Feldman later portrayed Clerio in Francesco Cavalli's Erismena in Spoleto, Italy, at the Festival dei due Mondi, and toured with the medieval music group Sequentia, where she performed the Ordo Virtutum of Hildegard von Bingen. Her career took a great leap forward in 1981 when Feldman joined the Parisian period music ensemble Les Arts Florissants, through which she essayed the title role in Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Médée at the Salle Pleyel in Paris in 1984; the work earned all concerned a Gramophone Record Award in England and the Grand Prix du Disque de Montreux when it was recorded and released in 1985 on the Harmonia Mundi label. She subsequently toured America with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, performing repertory by George Frideric Handel, including the oratorio Susanna and the cantata Clori, Tirsi, e Fileno, of which she also made award-winning recordings. Feldman has been widely praised not only for her technical perfection but also for her ability to communicate the meaning of texts that are usually up to half a millennium old (and may well not have been heard in ensuing centuries) -- she has also been responsible for reviving such unheard-in-modern times roles as Vita in Marco Marazolli's sixteenth century La vita humana. The latter work was done in association with the Scottish Early Music Consort of Glasgow, with which Feldman has been associated since the mid-1980s. She has also recorded with such celebrated conductors as Frans Brueggen on Haydn's The Creation, and Andrew Parrot on Handel's Carmelite Vespers. Her frequent collaborators include harpsichordist Kenneth Weiss and viola da gamba virtuoso Paolo Pandolfo. Feldman has also been a noted teacher, conducting master classes in America and Europe, and has trained such notable younger performers as Anabela Marcos and the male soprano Yves la Pech.