Elena Margarita Casanova-Hanson
Elena Casanova, a native of Cuba, is a pianist whose musical training included study at the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Music Conservatory in Havana, Pacific Union College (1984-1987), and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She graduated with a B.Mus. in piano performance from the University of Redlands in California. She has studied with Robert Bowman, Paul Glover, Annie Kim, Louanne Long, Maria D. “Marilola” (Vasquez) Robles, Tom Turinia, and Lynn Wheeler.
Casanova started piano lessons at age five. By the time she was thirteen, her repertoire included major works by Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert. Although she enjoys performing the traditional repertoire as a soloist and is an accompanist for recitals and music productions, her major preoccupation and passion is in promoting the music of her native country. She is a frequent performer, known for her impeccable playing of Cuban, classical, and jazz music.
She is a featured pianist on the annual Mendocino County Professional Pianists Concert series in Ukiah, California, the 2006, 2009, and 2010 other concerts being released as DVDs. Other DVDs have included Dig Gig which features her and Amunka & Isa D’avila on percussion; an Acoustic Café Concert in 2009; and Ukiah Symphony Presents 88X2, a performance of Casanova and Elizabeth MacDougal with the orchestra in February 2009.
In 2005 Casanova released a CD, Recordando: Remembering the Maestros of Cuban Classical Music, which features Rene' Touzet, Ignacio Cervantes, Manuel Samuell, and Ernesto Lecuona. Another CD, Fuente Sin Igual, an album recorded in 2008 as a gift for her father, David Casanova, on his birthday, features improvisations on her favorite Spanish hymns.
Sources: “Elana Casanova at Acoustic Café,” Ukiah Daily Journal, 9 August 2012; Pacific Union College Viewpoint, Winter 2005, 32; Winter 2007, 24; Biography for press release at Elana Casanova website (2013); biographies at ukiahgastro.com/staff.html (2013);