Elaine Funaro is “regarded as one of the leading performers of new music for harpsichord” (Classical Music: The Essential Listening Companion). She is a popular presence at contemporary and early music festivals around the world, is past President of the Historical Keyboard Society of North America (HKSNA) and the Artistic Director of Aliénor, the American-based international competition for new harpsichord music. She has studied the harpsichord at Conservatories in Florence, Italy, Oberlin, Ohio, New England Conservatory, Boston and Amsterdam’s Sweelinck Conservatory. Her teachers have included Ton Koopman, John Gibbons, Lisa Crawford, and the late Gustav Leonhardt.
She has premiered pieces on five continents including concerts in Amsterdam, Rome, Sydney, Boston, Hong Kong and Tokyo. In addition to her solo recitals at the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, Funaro has been a frequent collaborator with symphonies and chamber ensembles. Her appearances often present modern compositions in the context of old and new musical traditions from around the world, yet her impassioned solo and chamber interpretations of traditional scores for her instrument remain a core element in an exceptionally active career. Elaine Funaro has recorded for Arabesque, Centaur, Gasparo, Wildboar, and Classic Concert.
During one of my high school summers in the 1960’s I signed up for an introduction to the harpsichord class given by George Lucktenburg at Interlochen Music Camp. Little did I know that that summer was planting the seed for my future career. Twenty years later George started the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society (SEHKS) and the Aliénor competition for new harpsichord compositions. The first competition was in 1982 and George asked me to perform a premier of a local NC composer. That was a first for me, contemporary music on the harpsichord!? He asked me again, four years later. Then would I be a judge and before I knew it I was helping him run the competition and eventually took it over all together. I have now performed winning compositions on five continents and have deposited over 700 scores in the Duke Music Department library. Thank you George. (He is the only person who ever called me ‘honey’).