“The harpsichord is not just an 18th century relic but a vibrant, powerful & expressive instrument that is uniquely relevant to the modern day and opens up a world of new possibilities.”
American harpsichordist Elaine Funaro is an innovative and visionary artist who is one of the foremost forces in the world today for the 21st century harpsichord. She is deeply committed to showcasing the harpsichord as not merely an 18th century instrument, but rather as a beautiful and powerful modern instrument capable of the most sublime musical and artistic expression.
To that end, Elaine Funaro not only performs & records a uniquely beautiful modern harpsichord repertoire, but, more importantly, she is absolutely instrumental in its creation.
She is Artistic Director of the Aliénor Harpsichord Composition Competition, which she has been running as a non-profit organization since 2006. Founded in 1982, Aliénor is committed to expanding and promoting the harpsichord as an exciting contemporary instrument, primarily by way of composition competitions, in order to create a new contemporary harpsichord repertoire. With a total of eight competitions to date, Aliénor is directly responsible for helping to inspire the creation of over 700 scores from around the world.
This Aliénor repertoire is unique – in contrast to other modern harpsichord repertoire which is often serial, atonal & academic, the Aliénor repertoire is intentionally an accessible repertoire characterized by a rich melodic content and profound emotional expression – composers from all over the world have participated in the creation of this repertoire and Elaine Funaro is the guiding force in its mandate & creation.
In addition to her fundamental role in the creation of this repertoire is her subsequent promotion of it – this is a repertoire that Ms. Funaro has made her own and which she regularly performs – she has received international acclaim for her performances across five continents. She also continues to regularly release recordings of these works – these recordings have been issued on the Centaur & Arabesque labels, and now the new Aliénor label. The recordings themselves have also received wide critical acclaim and have been noted for the unique beauty and contemporary relevance of the repertoire.
In order to further promote this standout contemporary repertoire, Ms. Funaro, through Aliénor, is also responsible for the publication of these works as scores, which are made available internationally – publications for which she is curator.
Elaine Funaro’s commitment to the 21st century harpsichord extends beyond the exciting and innovative new repertoire to the instrument itself. She performs on a custom-made contemporary harpsichord, the Kingston Opus #333, which is decorated throughout by original artwork from North Carolina artist Lisa Creed. This instrument has been heralded as the most recognizable instrument of its day. The creation of this unique instrument is the subject of a short animated & live action film by American filmmaker Andrea Love entitled “Birth of a Harpsichord” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogYVswztw4M ).
In every way, Elaine Funaro is a uniquely gifted & visionary artist whose passion for her instrument is changing the culture for the 21st century harpsichord.