Yelena Eckemoff is an internationally renowned Russian-born pianist, composer, poet, and visual artist who organically blends classical elements with jazz improvisation in evocative and uniquely distinctive works that strike a delicate balance between through-composed frameworks and open-ended exploration and improvisation. Eckemoff is highly prolific composer and recording artist who produces the albums that are listed worldwide among the best releases of a year. Each release has its own charm and expression, involving the greatest celebrities of the world jazz scene, but always bears the personal signature of the composer/pianist. Yelena Eckemoff is a virtuoso pianist who played numerous piano solo recitals and lead her various all-star bands performing at prestigious venues, including Birdland NYC, Jazz Standard, Saint Peter’s Church, and Ronnie Scotts in London.
Her career can be divided into halves: Before 2009, she focused primarily on classical, folk, and sacred music as well as jazz, and after where jazz became her primary mode of expression albeit still classically informed and occasionally tinged with experimental rock. The 2013 album Glass Song is widely regarded as her most important recording.
Eckemoff was born in Moscow and began playing the piano by ear at four. A year later, she was formally studying with her mother, a professional pianist. At seven, she attended Gnessins State Musical College, a school for gifted children, and after high school, studied classical piano at Moscow State Conservatory. After completing a Master's degree in piano performance and pedagogy, she worked as a piano teacher in a Moscow music school, gave solo concerts, attended courses at the Moscow Jazz Studio, played in an experimental jazz-rock band, and composed instrumental and vocal music.