Noted for being both lyrical and bold, the music of Eleanor Aversa has been honored with national awards such as the Northridge Composition Prize (Hero’s Welcome for orchestra), First Prize in the San Francisco Choral Artists’ New Voices Competition (Eyes Open), and fellowships from the The MacDowell Colony, the I-Park Foundation, andThe Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Other awards include the Brian M. Israel Prize from the New York Federation of Music Clubs (Movement for String Quartet), as well as a grant from The Queens Council on the Arts for her work with choreographer Danuta Petrow-Sek. These dance pieces explored social themes such as conformity to society vs. fidelity to self.
A major musical influence has been the Russian tradition. After earning a degree in Russian Language and Literature from Princeton, Eleanor lived in the Moscow area from 2002 to 2005 and immersed herself in the local musical life, accompanying harpist Simeon Kulkov at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and singing in the choir of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, performing both Latin and Russian Orthodox sacred music. From these involvements, her work absorbed elements of folk melody, quasi-modal harmony, and asymmetrical meter.
Eleanor earned a Master’s in Composition from The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College of the City University of New York, where she studied with Bruce Saylor. In August 2012 Eleanor completed her doctorate in composition from The University of Pennsylvania, where she studied as a Benjamin Franklin Fellow with James Primosch, Jay Reise, and Anna Weesner. She currently teaches advanced theory and composition at Penn and serves on the piano faculty at the Settlement Music School.