Board Profile: Elaine Rousseau
AFCM is managed by volunteers who, in addition to being passionately dedicated to chamber music, have outstanding qualifications. We invite you to get to know them.
Q: What would you tell your younger self about music that you know now?
Elaine Rousseau: I would have told myself to practice more.
Q: Are there any classic works of chamber music you only recently heard for the first time?
ER: Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso, #1
Q: What piece do you find yourself returning to again and again?
ER: Franz Schubert’s Fantasie in f minor, op.103, D. 940 for piano four-hands.
Q: You’re headed to a deserted island; what album would you take?
ER: The complete Beethoven piano sonatas recorded by Peter Takács.
Q: Where do you come down on the debate within chamber music: “new” music vs. classical era?
ER: Definitely classical. However, I also enjoy newly commissioned pieces composed in a classical format such as Michael Torke’s Sky Concerto for Violin composed in 2019 or Jennifer Higdon’s Piano Trio composed in 2003.
Q: Has music ever changed your outlook?
ER: Most definitely yes. When listening to music I become immersed in the glorious sounds and am transported to a beautiful ethereal place.
Q: Does music serve a moral purpose in your view?
ER: Music is a universal language which may serve to unite those of different views and beliefs. My utopian vision for the world is for us to hear music which connects us to one another in peace rather than to hear of war and dysfunction throughout our world.
Q: Beside the AFCM concerts, what other fine art events do you plan to attend this season?
ER: I am a season ticket holder for: TSO’s Classic Series, Arizona Theatre Company, and the Arizona Repertory Theatre at UA. I also attend the NYC Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series and performances at the Fred Fox School of music. This season I will attend the Lyric Opera production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the Santa Fe production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, and will travel to Seattle for opera.
Q: What was the last good book you read?
ER: I am an avid reader and am currently enrolled in Reading the Russian Classics through the Humanities Seminar Program at UA. We are reading two all-time favorites of mine – Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Revisiting these classics is a literary treat.
Q: What composer would you play for someone who’s never listened to chamber music before?
ER: This year several family members joined me for a concert in Carnegie Hall to hear Dame Mitsuko Uchida perform the music of Schubert. All three of them were new to chamber music so it was great fun introducing them to outstanding music performed by one of my favorite artists and written by one of my favorite composers. She included Piano Sonata in A major, D. 959 which brought tears to my eyes. Of course, she got a standing ovation for her performance.
Q: What piece of classical music should everybody hear before the age of 21?
ER: Anything by Schubert, Beethoven, Chopin, Wagner, Mozart . . . the list is endless making it impossible to choose just once piece.
Q: How has AFCM impacted your life?
ER: Prior to attending AFCM concerts my musical taste was firmly rooted in the classics. I purposefully avoided anything composed after the early 20th century. Gregorian chant, baroque music and anything composed by Beethoven or Chopin were among my favorites. If I attended a concert that included a newly commissioned piece of music I would typically leave before it was performed. AFCM has transformed my musical listening and enjoyment. By being introduced to newly commissioned pieces on a regular basis I quickly learned that beautiful music is currently being composed and look forward to hearing it. In fact, I now serve on the AFCM Commissioning Committee and work with the other committee members to bring new works to our audience. Yes, AFCM has had a major impact on my life.