CYM is delighted to announce a new member of our teaching faculty, Ms. Anna Elder. Ms. Anna hails from Pittsburgh and will be joining us as our very first voice instructor. Welcome Anna!
Anna Elder earned her Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from The Eastman School of Music. While at Eastman, she studied with Dr. Constance Haas and received training in vocal pedagogy, anatomy, physiology, and the acoustics of the voice. She participated and performed in master classes presented by Ruth Ann Swenson and American operatic composer Carlisle Floyd. She received the Ornesto Award for excellence in recital performance and was a Rochester Classical Idol finalist. Ms. Elder has performed with Eastman Opera Theater, The Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra, and she recently finished an Off-Broadway run with Squonk Opera.
Currently, Ms. Elder teaches and performs around the Pittsburgh Area. Her teaching philosophy centers on developing the natural singing instrument from the inside out, to produce a confident and versatile vocalist and musician. With a strong focus on musicality and technique, Ms. Elder encourages all of her students to sing in multiple styles and languages. She is also an advocate for music education as a therapeutic tool for students with special needs. She has taught music and drama for Firefly Arts, a program that provides multidisciplinary arts workshops for students on the Autism spectrum and their families. Ms. Elder has two dogs and one cat. They all sing and are constantly trying to upstage her.
We wanted to get to know Ms. Anna a little better, so we sat down for a chat-
CYM: What is your favorite piece of music to sing?
Ms. Anna: One of my favorite pieces of music to sing is Samuel Barber's "Hermit Songs". I discovered them when I was fourteen and I feel in love with the text (poem's written anonymously by Irish Monks), and the way they fit together in the song cycle. I had to wait until I was 21 to be vocally mature enough to perform them all. It was so hard to wait that long. Now I am mature enough to sing them all the time...in the recital hall, the car, the supermarket... It's so wonderful to play a portable instrument, no matter how many strange looks you get in public!
CYM: When/where/how do you listen to music for fun?
Ms. Anna: I often listen to anything from Appalachian folk songs to Shostakovich on my record player while cooking dinner. Currently, I am listening to The Tune-Yards, David Lang, Thomas Ade`s, Brahms, and St. Vincent.
CYM: Where do you live? Would you like to share anything about your family/roommates/pets?
Ms. Anna: I currently live in The East End. I have two dogs and a cat. They all have very funny personalities and they often try to sing along in their own way when I am practicing. Someday, we will all record an album.
CYM: What has music given you?
Ms. Anna: Music had been one of the most amazing influences on my life. I am the only musician in my immediate family that consists of mainly engineers, and early on I developed an interest in everything musical. My family was very supportive, and while growing up I was surrounded by opera, symphony music, and rock n' roll. I was encouraged to study and perform every style of singing, and I am so grateful that I did. Music has given me the opportunity to collaborate with many different composers and musicians, and it inspires me to keep studying and teaching. It has also given me the opportunity to travel and perform in Europe. I have met some of my closest friends through teaching and performing music, and I met my fiance` while singing with a local chamber music group. My wonderful students bring me joy and every day they challenge me to be a better teacher.
CYM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Ms. Anna: I used to work as a cook. I love to cook and learn many different styles of cuisine. For many years, I wondered if it was possible to sing and cook professionally. I eventually decided that music and education were my true callings, but I was excited to learn that there is a Julia Child opera!!
CYM: What’s your favorite treat to eat?
Ms. Anna: "Oh Food Glorious FOOOOOOD!!" I love all food, but I would say my favorite is Italian. My mother's family is from Italy and homemade pasta is both fun to make and so good to eat.