LARISA ELISHA, violinist
Acclaimed Russian violinist, Larisa Elisha, Director of Upper Strings Studies, is distinguished as an international soloist, chamber musician and pedagogue, having performed and taught extensively throughout Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, Taiwan, and the United States. In a recent review of Ms. Elisha’s performance of Shostakovich’s first violin concerto, The Topeka Capital-Journal wrote: “Elisha left the audience slack-jawed in awe with her tour-de-force playing of the cadenza … It was heartbreakingly poignant and profound… The ovation that followed was as long and as enthusiastic as any I can recall in White Concert Hall….” The Lawrence Journal-World wrote: “Elisha’s playing was a dazzling display of virtuosic fingering…”
Continuing in the tradition of legendary Russian violinist, David Oistrakh, she holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors and Master’s degree in Music from the State Conservatory of Belarus in Minsk, where she was a student and assistant of Professor Olga Parchomienko, one of Oistrakh’s most prominent protégés. Dr. Elisha earned her Doctorate degree at the Academy of Music in Wroclaw, Poland. She was the Concertmaster of the Witold Lutoslawski State Philharmonic, Principal Violinist of the Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra, and Director and First Violinist of the Wratislavia String Quartet. Dr. Elisha was Professor of Violin, Chamber Music and Method Pedagogy at the Academy of Music in Wroclaw. Ms. Elisha has performed recitals at the festivals of Chamber Music in Belarus, International Festival Wratislavia Cantans in Wroclaw (Poland), Contemporary Music Festival Musica Polonica Nova, Draeseke’s Festival in Germany, Gioventi Muiscale d’Italia, Wieniawski’s Festival in Poland, and Mozart’s Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her solo performances of the Shostakovich Violin concerto with the Wroclaw and Koszalin Symphony Orchestras as well as solo recitals in Krakow and at the Wieniawski Festival in Szczawno Zdroj drew critical acclaim. Ms. Elisha has also performed at the Koncertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam, Holland; Warsaw National Philharmony Hall; and Karajan Hall in Berlin, Germany, and has made numerous compact disc, TV, and radio recordings.
Currently, Dr. Elisha is Director of Upper Strings Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at Georgia Southern University. Formerly Violin Artist-in-Residence at Washburn University, she was Concertmaster of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra. As Concertmaster of the Wichita Grand Opera, she performed featured solos with Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Joyce DiDonato. She is heard regularly as a soloist and in chamber music concerts. As master teacher, Dr. Elisha maintains a significant violin/viola studio and many of her students are winners in state and national competitions. As a clinician and performer, Dr. Elisha presents at ASTA and other national and international conferences, and regularly performs and teaches in summer music festivals. As Violinist of the Elaris Duo, she was the recipient of the 2008 Kansas Governor’s Arts Award (“Artist” category) and received critical acclaim for the MSR-Classics release, “Duo Virtuoso.”
In recognition for her outstanding professional achievements, Dr. Elisha has been included in the 2005 Marquis Who’s Who in America, the 25th Silver Anniversary Edition of Who‘s Who of American Women 2006-2007, and Marquis Who’s Who in the World 2008-2010. Named as an honorary member to NONOSO at Washburn University, Dr. Elisha was also given an honorary lifetime membership to Sigma Alpha Iota by the SAI National Headquarters.
Dr. Elisha is co-founder of the Elaris Duo with cellist, Steven Elisha, Elaris Duo & Friends Chamber Music Series and the Elaris Music Academy. Selected for the Kansas Arts on Tour Program roster and awarded “Musicians of the Year 2003” by the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs, the Elaris Duo received the highly coveted 2008 Kansas Governor’s Award in the category Artist. Their recent MSR-Classics release, DUO VIRTUOSO, has been receiving critical acclaim from the Atlanta Audio Society, American Record Guide, Malcolm Tattersall’s “Music & Vision,”Turok’s Choice and BBC Music. In a recent feature in FANFARE MAGAZINE, Robert Maxham wrote, “Breathtaking élan”…“Mesmerizing”… “The reverberant recorded sound balances the violin and cello almost ideally, capturing just the right amount of detail. The repertoire, well chosen and well ordered …and above all, the striking performances – all might convince you you’re not in Kansas anymore. But you are. Very strongly recommended.”
Ms. Elisha recently appeared as a featured soloist with the Hastings Symphony and Topeka Symphony Orchestras performing the Brahms Violin Concerto, and in recitals at the National Taiwan University of the Arts and Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy; and solo appearances with the Gulf Coast, Sunflower Chamber, Topeka, Hastings and Taiwan National Arts Symphony Orchestras in famed Taiwan’s National Hall. Other performances have included duo recitals at the Grieg Conservatory of Music (Norway). “Extraordinary violinist” –Eleonore Schoenfeld
STEVEN ELISHA, cellist
Recognized by Janos Starker as a cellist “in the front ranks of his generation’s musicians,” Steven Elisha, Director of Upper Strings Studies, performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. He began his performing career at the age of fifteen as a student of Luis Garcia-Renart, appearing as a soloist with the Albany and Schenectady (New York) Symphonies. Elisha’s New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, premiere performance of Adrienne Elisha’s Cello Concerto, Cry of the Doveand recent MSR-CLASSICS release, DUO VIRTUOSO, received critical acclaim.
As an honorary member and returned guest of the Beijing Cello Society, Dr. Elisha has extensively concertized throughout Mainland China. He has also performed throughout Europe, Brazil, Israel, Norway and the United States, appearing as a featured soloist with the Beijing Central Philharmonic and the Symphonies of Beijing, Xian, Jinan, and Canton, Toledo Symphony, Connecticut Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Topeka Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony, Hastings Symphony, Sunflower Music Festival Chamber Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony and the Taiwan National Arts Orchestra.
Dr. Elisha holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University School of Music where he was a student of distinguished cellist Janos Starker, and a Master of Music degree from Yale University School of Music where he had a Teaching Fellowship for Aldo Parisot. In 2007, Dr. Elisha received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas. Dr. Elisha has served on the faculties of the Bergen Conservatory (Norway), where he was interim Co-Principal of the Bergen Philharmonic, the University of Toledo (Ohio), Connecticut College and Pittsburg State University. As a visiting Professor, Dr. Elisha has taught master classes at the Beijing, Canton, Xian, Jinan, Shanghai Conservatories, as well as the National Taiwan University of the Arts, Rubin Academy, Grieg Conservatory and Lithuania Music and Theatre Academy.
Currently, Dr. Elisha is the Director of the String Division and Assistant Professor of Music at Georgia Southern University. Formerly the Director of String Studies at Washburn University, Principal Cellist of the Topeka Symphony, and Conductor of the Topeka Symphony Youth Orchestra, Elisha was also the Artistic Director/ Conductor of the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra. He was also the Director of the Topeka Symphony Youth Orchestra Summer Academy. Dr. Elisha regularly gives master classes, workshops and residencies throughout the United States, including his fun-loving and innovative Mr. Cello Stories, a program for audiences of all ages. He is a clinician for American String Teachers Association and regularly presents at other national and international conferences. He performs at national and international music festivals, including the Summit Music Festival, Bergen International Music Festival, Sunflower Music Festival, Bayview Music Festival and the Pierre Monteux School.
Dr. Elisha has recorded for Delos and Musical Heritage Society, including a Grammy-nominated MHS recording of New England piano trios. Dr. Elisha was initiated to Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI) as a National Arts Associate.
He and his wife, Dr. Larisa Elisha, violinist, are co-founders of the Elaris Duo, Elaris Duo & Friends Chamber Music Series, Elaris Chamber Music Academy and the Strings at Southern Chamber Music Festival. Selected for the Kansas Arts on Tour Program roster and awarded “Musicians of the Year 2003” by the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs, the Elaris Duo received the highly coveted 2008 Kansas Governor’s Award in the category Artist. Their recent MSR-Classics release, DUO VIRTUOSO, received critical acclaim from the Atlanta Audio Society, American Record Guide, Malcolm Tattersall’s “Music & Vision,”Turok’s Choice and BBC Music. In a feature in FANFARE MAGAZINE, Robert Maxham wrote, “Breathtaking élan”…“Mesmerizing”… “The reverberant recorded sound balances the violin and cello almost ideally, capturing just the right amount of detail. The repertoire, well chosen and well ordered …and above all, the striking performances – all might convince you you’re not in Kansas anymore. But you are. Very strongly recommended.”
Recent performances have included recitals at the Lithuania Music and Theatre Academy, National Taiwan University of the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, University of Chicago-Urbana, Chicago Cultural Center and in the Savannah area.