The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 12, 2003

Elaine Funaro Will Present 500 Years Of Harpsichord Music Sept. 28

Harpsichordist Elaine Funaro will present "A Nod to the '90s," a concert that spans 500 years of music for the harpsichord, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28 in Harper Hall of the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building. Her performance, as a guest of the UI School of Music and the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society, will be free and open to the public.

In a program characterized as "a living history of the harpsichord" and "a theatrical and musical journey through time and sound," Funaro will play music from 16th-century England up to the 21st century. Donning costumes to go with each historical era, she will dramatize personalities as well as the music of the harpsichord.

Funaro will begin the musical tour in 16h century England, providing a colorful narrative about William Byrd, one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite composers, and performing three pieces of his work.

Next, the musical journey will move through the 17th century, where Funaro will explain the melding of harpsichord music with movement and dance. Henry Purcell, one of Byrd's most important successors in English music, will be featured on this portion of the program.

Her performance will continue through Paris and the challenge to save the harpsichord from the French Revolution. Here the program will include music by Helene Montgeroult, whose life was saved by a last-minute courtroom performance of the "Marseillaise."

Little harpsichord music exists from the 19th century, but during the 20th century music was written for the harpsichord in many different styles and all over the world: Japan, Australia, South America, Europe and America.

"The harpsichord has transcended time and place and thrives in the contemporary fabric of musical life," Funaro says. "In continuing with the mostly dance theme of this program I will conclude with two different soundscapes written by two American composers."

"Elaine Funaro gave the overflow crowd a great deal more than just the fine playing by one of the area's, and arguably, the nation's, best harpsichordists performing today," Marvin J. Ward reported for CVNC (Classical Voice North Carolina). "The narrative was well written, returning to the themes of time and sound as the evening progressed. The whole was as much an event, both theatrical and musical, as a concert -- a time travel experience, a most pleasant and interesting journey."

Funaro is regarded as one of the leading performers of new music for harpsichord, but her repertoire ranges over the entire history of the instrument, from a recording of Baroque music on a 1758 Kirckman harpsichord to numerous premieres of contemporary works. Her commitment to unexplored repertoire encompasses music by women as well as musical forms indigenous to South America, South Africa and Japan.

Besides performing at the international Early Music Festivals in Berkeley, Boston, Bloomington and Amherst, she has been heard in solo recitals at the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress and Spivey Hall in Atlanta. Her fourth CD, "Dances with Harpsichords," is being released this year.

Active in the community of keyboard artists, she is a past president of the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society, and she runs the Alienor Harpsichord Composition Competition.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at The Iowa City Early Keyboard Society's web page is

To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,

PHOTOS are available at