Yelena Eckemoff

Primary Instrument: Piano

Yelena Eckemoff

Yelena Eckemoff was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. Her parents noticed that she had great musical potential when she started to play piano by ear at the age of four. Yelena's mother, Olga, a professional pianist, became her first piano teacher. At the age of seven Yelena was accepted into an elite Gnessins 10-year School for musically gifted children where, in addition to common school subjects, she received extensive training in piano, music theory, music literature, solfeggio, harmony, analysis of musical forms, conducting, composing, and other musical subjects. She was fortunate to study piano with Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who also trained one of today's most celebrated pianists, Evgeny Kissin. Later Yelena studied with Galina Nikolaevna Egiazarova at the Piano School of the Moscow State Conservatory. Upon graduation with Master's Degree in piano performance and pedagogy, she worked as a piano teacher in one of Moscow Music Schools, gave solo concerts, attended courses at the Moscow Jazz Studio, played in an experimental jazz-rock band, and continued to compose music for different instruments and voice....
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”Yelena Eckemoff has done something almost entirely new--she's created what could very well be considered a new musical genre--classical world improv, if a name must be put to it. Drawing mainly, perhaps, on classical music, she's figured out a way to seamlessly incorporate world, jazz, and chamber ensemble elements.

The result? Music of uncommon beauty and pathos.” --Jan Dennis,

“Eckemoff isn't as concerned with musical tradition as she is with actively capturing various creatures of sound, fusing them together and giving life to another breed of musical species.” --David Locklear, Go Triad magazine

”Eckemoff’s new album, Advocate of Love, shows this remarkable pianist’s influences, namely the modern classical movement, contemporary and be-bop jazz as well as others. It is remarkably mature and often programmatic in nature. It is not conducive for casual listening or as background music, as Eckemoff’s compositions demand attentive listening--and are quite worthy of it... Eckemoff’s Advocate of Love is a distinctive, authentically sophisticated album. Think of it as a classical work performed by a jazz piano trio, or a jazz album performed by a 20th century classical chamber trio. Somewhat akin to the Jacque Loussier Trio’s jazz approach to Baroque music but instead, taking its cue from classical music created several hundred years into the future. Each of Eckemoff’s compositions take the listener on a different sonic sojourn, with circuitous pathways teeming with aural discoveries. You could dance to it, but you’d best have some training in ballet, modern and jazz dance. Eckemoff’s compositional skills would also prove fortuitous for creating film scores and other thematic works. Not for the light-hearted, but very well done.” --Robert Kaye, Abstract Logix

“YELENA ECKEMOFF/Cold Sun: There's ECM music lingering beyond the ECM gates. Perhaps the bleakest picture of winter since “Reds”, this Russian composer paints her impressionistic portrait as only one afraid of being sent to Siberia can do. A first rate piece of modern, chamber jazz for the sitting down jazz lover.” Chris Spector, Midwest Records.

“If Eckemoff demonstrates anything with this enthralling winter-themed album, it lies in her artistry as an inquisitive, slow-paced, and free-of-sentimentality pianist able to express special emotional qualities linked to song titles like “After Blizzard,” “Romance by the Fireplace,” and “Snow Bliss.” Excellent simpatico support from drummer Peter Erskine and double-bass player Mads Vinding.”-- Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat.

...”The acoustic trio has produced a modern jazz record of outstanding quality although this one may take some time before it sinks in. The melodies are not readily accessible as they are buried just beneath the surface and it takes a bit of work to pull them out. There is an experimental dissonance at work here that is not easily accessible but is well worth the effort in the end. All three musicians work beautifully together intertwining compositional form and improvisation seemingly at will. Eckemoff's edgy piano textures weave around the outstanding rhythm play of Erskine and Vinding and all three excel in the free form jazz style. With song titles like “Freezing Point”, “Snow Bliss” and “Winter” it is not hard to imagine a theme of winter which somehow seems fitting for a Russian born musician. The album begins with the title track, a mournful number with a somber edge with lovely piano displaying a gentle touch and a fat bass sound. This is jazz with an eclectic edge but with no less charm. “After Blizzard” features stark piano, a subtle bass groove and washes of percussion invoking the calm after the storm before turning in an experimental direction, especially Erskine's improvisational drum work. The eclectic jazz of “Stubborn” is a wild ride of pure dissonance where deliberate bass lines and wonderful piano fills intertwine forming a cacophony of conflicting sounds. The album takes on a gentler approach with the compositional balladry of “Romance by the Fireplace” and “White Magic” before ending with the thirteen minute long “Winter” featuring marching style drums and intense piano work. Eckemoff and company have produced an excellent album with Cold Sun. Fans of eclectic acoustic jazz will eat this one up, I guarantee it.”--John Neudorf, Sea of Tranquolity.

“Cold Sun is a piano trio release from Eckemoff which focuses on impressions of winter scenes (a follow up - entitled Grass Catching the Wind is to be released soon as well). There is an ECM-feel to the pieces, which meld improvisation and composition, and classical and jazz elements intricately and seamlessly. The talented artist is aided by the strong presence of Grammy-winning Danish bassist Mads Vinding and veteran drummer Peter Erskine - both of whom are stellar in adding contributions to the pianist's compositions. Erskine is more well-known perhaps for his big band work and fusion work with Weather Report, but here he displays a shimmering range of Motian-like sounds that sparkle like sunlight on snow. Some pieces (like the lovely and mysterious effervescent title track) float and ha”g like glistening snowflakes, whole others (like “Stubborn”) trudge through snowdrifts with determination to survive. “Romance by the Fireplace” meanwhile, playfully hints at a tango. At times pleasant, at times chilly and bleak, but throughout - an engaging winter journey.”--Brad Walseth,

1994 21 Biblical Psalms Original word-by-word settings from Old King James Bible. Soprano, Charlene Smith, and piano, Yelena Eckemoff. 1997 Piano Series, v.1 Classical music by E. Grieg, C. Gluck, F. Chopin, W. Mozart, R. Schumann and P. Tchaikovsky. Piano. 2000 The Birth of Emmanuel Original instrumental musical composition in seven movements with the corresponding Scripture narration from Matthew preceding every movement. Featuring narrator Larry Van Horn. Electronic orchestra. 2001 When Christmas is Near... Original arrangements of Christmas music. Piano. 2001 Kaleidoscope of Life Original nostalgic instrumental music of entertaining nature with real life sound effects. Piano and electronic orchestra. 2002 Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ Original instrumental musical composition in ten movements with the Scripture narration from Matthew. Featuring narrator Larry Van Horn. Piano and electronic orchestra. 2003 Piano Chronicles, album 1 Original instrumental music composed from age 16 through age 27. Piano. 2003 Piano Chronicles, album 2 Original instrumental music composed from age 28 through 40. Piano and occasional synthesizer keyboard. 2005 Travel Compilation from Yelena's original instrumental music CDs including three pieces from the upcoming album, "Medieval Symphony." 2006 Piano Series, v. 2 Music by D. Scarlatti, C. P. I. Bach, L. V. Beethoven, F. List, F. Mendelssohn, F. Chopin, M. Glinka, and P. Tchaikovsky. Piano. 2006 The Call Original music performed by piano, Yelena Eckemoff; cello, Gayle Masarie; flute, Deborah Egekvist; and drums, Michael Bolejack. 2008 Advocate of Love Original music performed by piano, Yelena Eckemoff; cello, Gayle Masarie; double-bass, Pat Lawrence; and drums, Michael Bolejack. 2010 Cold Sun Yelena Eckemoff, piano & compositions, Mads Vinding, double-bass, and Peter Erskine, drums. 2010 Grass Catching the Wind Yelena Eckemoff, piano & compositions, Mads Vinding, double-bass, and Morten Lund, drums. 2010 Flying Steps Yelena Eckemoff, piano & compositions, Darek Oleszkiewicz, double-bass, and Peter Erskine, drums.

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