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In addition to his appointment as Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, baritone Elem Eley enjoys a remarkably varied career—from opera, oratorio and recital to premières of contemporary vocal music. He appears on five recent recordings, two of them released by Albany Records—including a solo album (with pianist, JJ Penna), Drifts and Shadows: American Song for the New Millennium. A review appearing in Journal of Singing declares, “No matter what technical and expressive hurdles these songs present, Eley surmounts them with conviction and assurance...What they [Eley and Penna] achieve here is truly profound." The CD featuring Lieder of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf and Frank Martin, was released on Centaur Records, entitled Der Geist spricht/The Spirit Speaks. Critic Phil Muse (Audio Visual Club of Atlanta) praises the duo: "To put across a dire-foreboding program such as this requires the utmost in intelligence and interpretive insight. Elem Eley and J.J. Penna possess both, plus the technical powers to do justice to awesome settings of awesome literary texts." The most recent disc, Lenoriana (Affetto Recordings), is reviewed in the Journal of Singing: "This generous disk is yet another memorable collaboration between baritone Elem Eley and pianist J.J. Penna...[Eley's] essential tone remains exceptionally handsome and his artistry is as eloquent as ever. J.J. Penna remains an absolute marvel at the piano, and even the most difficult of these songs seem to pose no serious problems for him. What is most impressive of all is the flawless sense of ensemble between these two musicians as they confront the plethora of challenges posed by these works."

Mr. Eley has performed in leading venues, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, as well as with regional orchestras and presenting groups throughout the country. Mr. Eley sang the title role of Don Giovanni for his debut at the Operafestival di Roma and appeared in productions with the opera companies of Cincinnati, Hawaii, Shreveport and Syracuse, Athena Grand Opera, the Sylvan Opera Festival, the Center for Contemporary Opera and Musica Europa 2001 (Spain and Portugal).

In Vienna, Mr. Eley sang Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch (with soprano Faith Esham and Penna) in a 2011 recital at the Schubert Geburtshaus. He has coached extensively there with Walter Moore and Norman Shetler (also with Robert Holl and Carolyn Hague), and directs the summer vocal program, Vienna: Language of Lieder.

Recent seasons featured a return to Avery Fisher Hall, in Messiah with the Peniel Concert Choir, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Carmina Burana with the Springfield (MO) Symphony, plus recitals and master classes for the Art Song Preservation Society of New York, and at Indiana University, LaGrange College, Columbus State University and Berry College. Winner of the 1996 Joy in Singing Award, Elem Eley completed coursework for the D.Mus. degree at Indiana University, where he studied with Margaret Harshaw. Eley is founder/director of Vienna: Language of Lieder, a new summer program in the City of Music, dually focused on Lieder preparation and language study. 

May 2016

High-Resolution Headshot (JPG)