Deeply committed to nurturing a collaborative and inclusive culture in our world by fostering the collaborative ideals of partnership, participation and presence, pianist Elvia L. Puccinelli is internationally recognized as a leader in connecting collaborative pianists, supporting their needs and elevating their voices. She is Founder and President of the International Keyboard Collaborative Arts Society, a professional association for collaborative pianists, which launched in October 2020 (www.ikcas.org). She is Founder and Artistic Director of CollabFest, an international professional conference devoted exclusively to collaborative piano, the first event of its kind in the world, and presented annually since 2016 (https://collaborativepiano.music.unt.edu/collabfest). In response to the many challenges the COVID-19 pandemic posed for collaborators, she instituted Collaborators in the Time of Corona (2020), a free series of ten webinars through which pianist-partners were able to discuss and share resources during this complicated season. Through these entities, she has provided groundbreaking interactive community, learning and performance opportunities for her discipline.
Elvia is Professor of Collaborative Piano and Vocal Coaching and Coordinator of Collaborative Piano at the University of North Texas College of Music, where she has served on the faculty since 2004. She has held previous appointments at Baylor University, the University of Southern California, University of California Irvine and Pasadena City College. A dedicated educator in the field of collaborative arts and a specialist in vocal literature, she has been a clinician or guest teacher at universities throughout the country such as Cincinnati Conservatory, the University of Southern California, and Vanderbilt University. With collaborative piano luminaries Margo Garrett and Donna Loewy, she has by invitation presented multiple sessions on the pedagogy of collaborative piano at National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and National Opera Association national conventions. An advocate for contemporary American art song, Elvia has hosted residencies at UNT with Tom Cipullo, Juliana Hall and Alan Smith. She has worked closely with composer Jake Heggie on several projects, including creating a comprehensive performer’s resource to his songs, and has recently recorded a cd of songs of Juliana Hall with soprano Molly Fillmore (2020).
An alumna of San Francisco Opera's Merola Program, Tanglewood and Music Academy of the West, and former faculty at the AIMS program in Graz, Austria, Elvia spent over ten seasons coaching young professional singers at the OperaWorks program in Los Angeles, working under the leadership of Ann Baltz. Featured as guest pianist on multiple occasions with the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, she is currently on the faculty of Opera Lucca.
Elvia has appeared in song and chamber music recitals at venues throughout the United States and Europe at such diverse performance events as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Chamber Concert Series, Plácido Domingo's Operalia Competition, the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the National Opera Association Competition, and at NOA and NATS national conventions.
A published author on topics of song literature and collaborative piano techniques, and currently on the editorial board of the NATS Journal of Singing, Elvia has a special interest in language and in the intersection of language and music. She holds a degree in French, and has served as language consultant for Martha Gerhart’s series Italian Song Texts from the 17th through the 20th Centuries for Leyerle Press.
Elvia began her immersion in the wonderful world of music early in life, playing for voice lessons given by her father, Primo, and assisting her mother, Marlene, in playing church services and teaching lessons. The work they began in her continued at the University of Southern California, where she completed the MM and DMA in collaborative piano with Alan L. Smith. It is with gratitude, respect and admiration that she endeavors to live forward the legacy of her parents and mentors.