2017-07-05 / Obituaries

Adrienne Elisha

It is with great sadness that the family of Adrienne Joy Elisha (“Adie”) announces her passing on Monday, June 12, 2017, at the age of 58 years, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Adie was born in Glen Cove, and lived in Bayville, L.I. during her first 10 years. The daughter of distinguished professional musicians, the late Dorothy Kesner and Paul Elisha, she was an extraordinary artist whose creative genius included the Performing Arts, Composition, Poetry and Painting. She was a champion of new music – equally talented as both a skilled violist as well as a composer. Her voice was distinctly contemporary but her inspiration was drawn directly from her heart. Mario Davidovsky had described her sextet (Anthelion) as “A new kind of polyphony.” Leonard Bernstein described her work as “Excitingly unpredictable, yet inevitable in retrospect.”

Adrienne was a 2007 winner of the Thayer Award in music composition and received her Ph D in composition from the University of Buffalo, working with David Felder as a Presidential Doctoral Fellow. Also a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana and the Cleveland Institute of Music, Ms. Elisha’s grants and commissions included those from Meet the Composer and The National Music Teachers’ Association, by whom she was named the 1997 Ohio Composer of the Year. Her credits went on to include Fortnightly Music of Cleveland, Cleveland Chamber Music Society, New Ear Ensemble of Kansas City and the American Music Center.

Her works have been featured both nationally and internationally at June in Buffalo, The Colorado Springs New Music Symposium, The Chintimini Chamber Music Festival and at the International Bartok Festival in Szombathely, Hungary, where she performed her own solo and chamber works and premiered those of other composers. “Cry of the Dove,” her cello concerto, was commissioned and premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony for Solo Cellist, Steven Elisha, who performed it subsequently with The Grand Rapids Symphony, under the direction of conductor, David Lockington.

In addition to solo and chamber appearances at new music festivals, Dr. Elisha was principal violist with The Center for 21st Century Music Ensemble and the June in Buffalo Chamber Ensemble. She also performed frequently with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. During the Warsaw Autumn Festival, she was featured as soloist and composer on Polish Radio broadcasts, performing new works for solo viola, including her own. Both of her talents were on display in Bern, Switzerland, where her composition, inspired by Paul Klee’s painting, “Once Emerged from the Grey of Night,” was featured. As guest violist, Dr. Elisha also performed with the Ensemble Paul Klee in the premiere of Liber Fulguralis by Tristan Murail. Other performances and commissions included those by solo bassist James VanDemark, the Rochester City Ballet, Musaica Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Interface, Netzwerk Neue Musik, eighth blackbird, The Chamber Orchestra of Boston, The American Chamber Ensemble, The Denali Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble and The Arditti String Quartet.

In 2009, nominated by Peter Eötvös, Ms. Elisha was the recipient of the Herrenhaus Composer residency in Edenkoben, Germany, where she spent five months as resident composer. She was also named a Composer Fellow of the 2011 Wellesley Composers Conference, led by Mario Davidovsky, director, and was awarded a 2011 Outer Cape Cod Artist’s Residency. She was a recipient of fellowships from the Mac- Dowell Colony and The Rockefeller Foundation at the Bellagio Center. Recent World Premieres included “Lithuanian Dances” with the Nashua Chamber Orchestra under the baton of David Feltner, and “New Overture” with the Galveston Symphony Orchestra, Trond Saeverud, Conductor.

She is survived and lovingly remembered by her husband of 23 years, Peter Laki, stepson, Ben Niran, brother and sister inlaw, Paul Hunkins and Ann Gore, sister and brother-in-law, Jill Hunkins and Carlos Castillo, sister and brother-in-law, Nella Hunkins and Richard Slessor, brother and sister-in-law, Steven and Larisa Elisha. She will be forever remembered by her nieces: Michelle Jezierski, Joanna May Hunkins, nephews: Serge Hunkins, Alain Hunkins, Ron Castillo, Douglas Castillo, Michael Castillo, Nicholas de Leval Jezierski, Patrick Elisha as well as extended family and dear friends. Interment will be Monday, July 10, 2017, 2:30 PM, at Beth Moses Cemetery, 1500 Wellwood Ave., West Babylon. 11704 (Farmingdale - Suffolk County). Additional memorial services are planned in Cleveland, Ohio on July 29 and at Bard College, Annandale on-Hudson. (date and time TBA).

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