If we were to find one adjective to describe Elif Allenfort—the musician, the teacher, the person—, "passionate" might be the most fitting. Her exceptional musical talent is readily apparent in her performance, but her passion doesn't end when the performance does; it extends to teaching and spreading the joy of music as self-expression. Her exuberance, intelligence, wit, and compassionate nature are always evident; not just in her performances and in her teaching, but also in how she sees the world and interacts with the diverse circle of music lovers she surrounds herself with.
Ms. Allenfort was born in Turkey, exhibited her talent at a very young age, and gained an early admission to the Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory when she was only 9. Her first major performance was a concert with the symphony orchestra in Ankara, playing Mozart Piano Concerto K. 488; she was 13 years old. During her decade studying at the Ankara Conservatory, Ms. Allenfort performed throughout Turkey, appearing on stage, the radio and on television. Not only she was one of the youngest graduates ever from Ankara State Conservatory, she also graduated with the rare accomplishment of being the top student in the conservatory and the university at large. Her accomplishments at the conservatory earned her the distinguished "Ihsan Dogramaci Highest Artistic Achivement" award.
After graduation, Ms. Allenfort continued her education at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Belgium, under Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden and Teresa Escudero, and later at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Musical College. Ms. Allenfort performed in solo and chamber music recitals during her stay in Belgium and participated in numerous master classes with the leading pianists in Europe, including Radu Lupu and Idil Biret.
Ms. Allenfort moved to the United States in 1996, and received multiple scholarships to study at Roosevelt University Chicago Music College. She completed her Master's Degree with honors, and was immediately admitted to Roosevelt's Artist Diploma program where she obtained her post-graduate degree.
An active chamber and solo musician, Ms. Allenfort has developed her performance career through a regular schedule of recitals, orchestral appearances, special engagements and collaborative efforts with musicians such as the members of the Music of the Baroque, the Rembrandt Chamber Players, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, and performed with the Roosevelt University Orchestra. Since 2003, she also has been performing 4-hand and 2-piano recitals exclusively with notable Chicago pianists. She also is the pianist for the Lake Shore Unitarian Society in Winnetka, IL, where she gives weekly performances.
For Ms. Allenfort music is passion, and teaching others to find their musical voice is an extension and expression of this passion. She teaches students at all levels, but always challenges them to set their goals higher and achieve those goals. She taught at the Betty Haag Academy of Roosevelt University, Chicago, and at the Metropolis School of Performing Arts, Arlington Heights, IL, where she was the Head of the Piano Department for eight years. In addition to teaching at her private studio in a Northwest suburb of Chicago, she is also on the faculty of Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College Chicago.
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