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     Having studied literature at Yale and performance at Rice University, cellist Elise Pittenger now brings her artistic interests together in her studies of instrumental musical theatre at McGill University, where she is pursuing her doctorate with cellist Matt Haimovitz. Elise has a background in a wide range of musical styles. In addition to her chamber music experience at Peabody, Rice, McGill, and festivals such as Tanglewood and Spoleto, she has played under the batons of Kurt Masur, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, and Larry Rachleff. She has also studied baroque cello with the Toronto-based ensemble, Tafelmusik, and worked with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, combining tradition eastern and western musics.
     In Montreal, Elise has become very active in contemporary music and has been a member of McGill’s Contemporary Music Ensemble for the last two years, soloing with the group in October, 2006. She also plays with the cello ensemble, UCCELLO, performing works by Boulez, Matalon, Zappa, and Led Zeppelin, in Canada and the US. These ensembles have taken her to venues as diverse as Weill Hall, Philadelphia’s World Cafe, and Montreal’s techno-night club, La Société des Arts Technologiques. In Montreal Elise also participates in the city’s contemporary improvisation community, and she incorporates improvisation into both her performing and teaching work.
     Elise is particularly committed to bringing performers to underserved communities; she has helped to coordinate performances in schools and community centers in Houston, Baltimore, and Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She is a dedicated teacher of everything from ESL to chamber music and has taught and coached at schools and festivals in Barcelona, Spain, Houston, Baltimore, New Haven, and Honduras, and Montreal. At McGill she is assistant to Prof. Matt Haimovitz. Her teachers include Ron Thomas, Pansy Chang, Rhonda Rider, Norman Fischer, and Matt Haimovitz.