Elena Klionsky began playing the piano at the age of five in her native St. Petersburg, Russia, and gave her first public performance at the age of six. Upon her family’s relocation to the United States in 1974, she continued her studies at The Juilliard School of Music, where she began at the Pre-College Division and subsequently earned her bachelor and master degrees and was the recipient of the prestigious Petschek Scholarship. At the Juilliard School, she was among the very few to have the opportunity of studying with some of the most distinguished teachers in the world: Nadia Reisenberg, Adele Marcus, William Masselos, and Jacob Lateiner. Her Chamber Music teachers were Dorothy Delay, Harvey Shapiro, and Tossy Spivakovsky. While in high school, at New York City’s renowned High School for the Performing Arts, where she graduated with the B’nai B’rith Award for Outstanding Performance in Music, she was named “Promising Young Artist” by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and chosen to play the piano for a cameo role in the MGM movie “Fame”.
Nicknamed Piano Phoenix because she has risen above serious physical trauma to her right hand in 2002 to once again grace the world’s concert stages with her artistry, Elena is back after almost seven years of continuous physical therapy and dedicated practicing. Before Elena Klionsky’s injury, she had a very impressive list of performance credits. She made her first appearance in Lincoln Center in New York as a high school student with the National Music Week orchestra conducted by Julius Grossman. Ms. Klionsky performed her recital debut in New York to a sold-out audience in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She made her professional orchestral Debut performing for fifteen thousand people on the same bill as Itzhak Perlman with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Vakhtang Jordania. She has returned to Chattanooga many times to sold-out audiences. Her solo recitals, orchestral appearances, and TV and radio performances have taken her across the United States to Canada and Mexico, through Western Europe to Southeast Asia and to her native Russia, where she performed with the leading orchestras including Moscow State Symphony, St. Petersburg Camerata, Ural Philharmonic Orchestra and Russian Federal Orchestra. Ms. Klionsky was the first foreigner ever to open the annual “Moscow Stars” Festival in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
Her love of chamber music has taken Ms. Klionsky on tours to Holland, Belgium, Italy, and Canada. She has also performed Duo Piano concerts with a Taiwanese pianist Virginia Wei-Tsen Shiao with whom she has recorded for Solaris Classics. She recorded American and Belgian contemporary repertoire for Belgian radio.
Ms. Klionsky appeared on American TV at the age of eleven on ABC’s “People, Places, and Things” and on the WNYC radio’s “Young American Artists” broadcasts at the age of thirteen. She has made appearances on television in Finland, the Soviet Union and on radio in the Netherlands and Mexico.
Ms. Klionsky enjoys performing the Piano Sonatas of the world renowned contemporary composer Vincent Persichetti — she was very fortunate to work on these pieces with the composer himself during her time at The Juilliard School. Today, Elena works closely with Mr. Persichetti’s student, the Argentinian-American-French award-winning composer Martin Matalon. Steve Smith from The New York Times described the US premiere of Mr. Matalon’s TRAME IV (for Piano and eleven instruments) in New York’s Lincoln Center as “…intricately woven and brilliantly eventful performance of TRAME IV by the assured soloist Elena Klionsky…” She is currently working on a recording of Mr. Matalon’s Piano music for NAXOS.
Ms. Klionsky’s extensive repertoire and profound understanding of Beethoven’s work has brought her invitations to speak about Beethoven’s life and music to diverse audiences across the United States as well as abroad.
Ms. Klionsky has played numerous concerts for various charities including Elizabeth Taylor’s “Concert for AIDS” in Helsinki, violinist Isaac Stern’s seventy-fifth birthday celebration for Ben Gurion University, “Operation Exodus” of the United Jewish Appeal, Jerusalem Karen Or Center for the Blind, and Moscow’s first Russian Orthodox Sunday School for Children. Because of her diverse background and firm grounding in the cultures of her two home countries, Ms. Klionsky was invited to serve on the Board of Directors of the American-Russian Young Artists Orchestra.
Ms. Klionsky has been selected for listing in American Keyboard Artists and World Who’s Who of Women.
Elena Klionsky lives with her family in New York City.