Trapeze

Filed under Features, Showcase

OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

Eleanor+Friedberger%27s+new+album%2C+%3Cem%3EPersonal+Record%3C%2Fem%3E%2C+comes+out+June+4.
Back to Article
Back to Article

OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

Eleanor Friedberger's new album, Personal Record, comes out June 4.

Eleanor Friedberger's new album, Personal Record, comes out June 4.

Courtesy of the artist

Eleanor Friedberger's new album, Personal Record, comes out June 4.

Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

Eleanor Friedberger's new album, Personal Record, comes out June 4.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






From shows in Rome to a home in New York and tours all over the world, Eleanor Friedberger has made her living as a global musician.

Friedberger, who attended OPRF from 1990 to 1994, was recently honored at the Tradition of Excellence, one of four this year to win the award. She has released over 12 studio albums – three as a solo musician – and garnered international acclaim for her work. She recently wrapped up a series of shows in Europe, touring off her 2016 album “New View.”

“I’ve been traveling more this year than I have in a long time,” said Friedberger.

Friedberger describes the type of music she performs as rock. “It sounds really generic to say rock music,” she said, “(but) I grew up listening to classic rock radio in Chicago. My favorite music is from the 1960s and ’70s, and I kind of model myself on that.” Friedberger cites Neil Young, Van Morrison, and George Harrison as classic rockers who were important influences on her new album.

Friedberger even got to see these classic rock legends in person. When she was 13, Friedberger and some friends attended their first concert: Led Zeppelin, Friedberger’s favorite band at the time, playing at the Allstate Arena. “After the opening act played, some promoter rep came up to us,” she said. “Because we bought these Robert Plant (lead singer of Led Zeppelin) T-shirts, we got to sit in the second row….It was a crazy experience.”

This love of music, influenced by classical rock stations and shows, only grew once Friedberger reached OPRF. “As a teen, six girls and I would go and see shows downtown,” she said. Friedberger and her friends frequented venues like the Aragon Ballroom, jamming to the Smashing Pumpkins and other famous rock groups of the day.

At OPRF, however, Friedberger was not yet creating music. “I was obsessed with music and listened to music obsessively, but I never played,” she said. “I didn’t even start playing guitar until I was 18.”

Instead, Friedberger was a self-proclaimed jock, participating in softball, tennis, volleyball, and basketball. “At OPRF, sports was my extracurricular activity…I remember at a show in Chicago the varsity (softball) coach..said that I still held some record at OPRF for most consecutive hits.”

I was obsessed with music and listened to music obsessively, but I never played. I didn’t even start playing guitar until I was 18”

— Eleanor Friedberger

While one might not typically expect a transition from jock to musician, Friedberger perceives her athletic career at OPRF as critical to her musical success. “Playing team sports from a young age really helped me be a performer… having to be the leader on the field helped me have the courage and confidence to be on stage when I tried (music).”

When Friedberger attended college at the University of Texas at Austin, she began to perform the songs she’d been listening to throughout her life. “Starting when I was 18, I would go and see shows four to five nights a week,” she said. “It was really then when I realized that I could do this too.” Watching bands like the Flaming Lips and Guided by Voices perform in Austin expanded her musical vocabulary.

From college, Friedberger performed with her brother in a duo called “The Fiery Furnaces.” In their 10 years playing together, the duo released nine albums and was constantly on tour. “It was exciting and hard and fun,” she said. “(Touring with my brother) was both sides of the coin of being great and terrible. It was great to have (someone) to look out for you and someone you trust around all the time, but at the same time it’s not especially cool to constantly be around your big brother.”

In 2011, the band went on hiatus, with both Friedbergers embarking on solo careers. Since then, Friedberger has enjoyed a string of success, leading to her Tradition of Excellence award this November.

For Friedberger, the nomination came as an unexpected surprise. “I’m flattered and honored to be given the award, but I have absolutely no idea how I got nominated,” she said. “The people who are being given these awards are Ernest Hemingway, Ray Kroc and very famous people, so to me it seems absurd to be included in that kind of company.”

While Friedberger has blossomed from Oak Park sports superstar to international musician, she has not forgotten what OPRF meant to her. “I had a really good experience at OPRF,” she said. “I’m very proud to say I’m from Oak Park.”

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

    Features

    The summer of Clark

  • Features

    New Student Activities Director takes the lead

  • Features

    Dr Carlson: librarian extraordinaire

  • OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

    Features

    Junior Emma Vejcik in Google Doodle competition

  • OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

    Features

    All smiles at Happy Apple Pie Shop

  • OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

    Features

    The secret life of Lynette Lush

  • OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

    Features

    Tutoring club having pawsitive impact

  • OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

    Features

    Science with Spangler

  • OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

    Features

    Teacher Anthony Clark aims to make difference in OPRF community

  • OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world

    Features

    Under Pressure: Part 1

Navigate Right
The student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School
OPRF alum Eleanor Friedberger makes her mark on musical world