'Steinway Artist' Hershey Felder uses Debussy's 'Clair de Lune' as a starting point and bridge to intertwine his own personal history and that of the composer. All Photos by Christopher Ash for The Wallis.
Erudite and articulate, the consummate entertainer and scholar Hershey Felder speaks about his current show based on the life and music of Claude Debussy in a Google Talk, April 2019.
Felder performs piano excerpts, discusses Debussy's artistic evolution, and engages with the audience in a wide-ranging conversation about beauty, the sources of creativity, what makes a masterpiece, and other enduring questions about the artistic process.
Bridges, the old and the new, and 'Pointe Zero' a place from which to understand the unfolding of the life of a city such as Paris and his own life, figure prominently as a theme in this new show. Accepted then rejected, either ignored or panned for not following the rules while breaking through to new heights of wonderment is but another leitmotif to understand Debussy.
Culled from Hershey Felder's experience as a 19 year old in search of the inspiration of Claude Debussy, he presents a portrait of compositions which tapped his emotions and projected them straight into us. Debussy who took respite from the civilized world in nature, whose curmudgeon self absorption and focus on work - when not engaged in fervent love affairs - delivered him to a kind of legendary sound bath of ablution. Awe and majesty, by listening to or playing Debussy psychic or physical pain might be alleviated, as was the case for Hershey's mother who died far too young. This is what she told him, that 'Clair de Lune' did for her during painful breast cancer treatments.
Originating in Beverly Hills and emanating out to the world for the last 25 years, Felder has been taking on the lives and loves of the masters at the Wallis and other renowned theaters from Tchaikovsky, George Gershwin, Chopin, and Beethoven to Leonard Bernstein. Now we have Debussy. Perhaps there will be one more or two more artist portrayals before the film version is undertaken.
Until June 16th you can see and experience for yourself Felder channeling Debussy at the Wallis in the heart of Beverly Hills, a kind of 'Pointe Zero,' here in Los Angeles.
The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills. To purchase tickets and for more information, please call 310-746-4000
Tara Fass, LMFT #35078, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California. She treats adults and couples dealing with a broad range of issues from navigating the legacy of divorce in one's life, to the quarter life crisis and conscious aging. Together we attempt to make meaning [...]