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Elena Riu

Professorial Staff - Piano and Contemporary Piano


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
SE10 9JF

Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 4444


Elena Riu


“Riu’s vivacious articulation really shines. A beguiling performance” – The Independent

Venezuelan-born pianist Elena Riu “brings all the virtuosity, colour and refinement one could hope for in her interpretations” (American Record Guide). “The delicate precision of her playing leaves a wonderful sense of anticipation before every next move” (The Observer) Born and bred in El Sistema, Elena’s infectious enthusiasm for “boundary- jumping” (Time Out), and for bringing new music to a wider audience has brought her accolades all over the world. A leading exponent of the Hispano-American, her CD of Sonatas by Soler was released to great acclaim by the Spanish label Ensayo. She is a regular visitor to the Festival Latinoamericano.

Elena has commissioned, edited, published, performed and recorded over 40 new works giving countless world premieres including Sir John Tavener’s “Ypakoe”, written especially for her. Elena’s efforts on behalf of new music and as a keen educationalist led to the publication by Boosey & Hawkes of Salsa Nueva in 2006 – now on its second run and in 2009 Elena Riu’s R’n’B Collection and Out of the Blues CD. “My disc of 2000 is without hesitation Elena Riu’s extraordinary CD of 20th century piano music” (Gramophone) Elena has toured extensively and has performed in all major concert halls in the UK and abroad. An eclectic artist, Elena has pioneered collaborative work. She was the brain behind the sell-out multicultural Spanish Plus Series at the SBC and re-launched their Childrens and Families series. Her most recent collaboration: The Adventures of Tom Thumb was awarded a coveted Fringe First Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Qualifications/ Educational Background

Riu studied at Trinity College of Music in London with Joseph Weingarten where she won many prizes ands competitions. She was also a student of Neil Immelman, Maria Curcio and Roger Vignoles. Later, Elena won a scholarship from to travel to Paris for advanced tuition from Vlado Perlemuter in Paris.

Teaching Experience

Elena has led numerous master classes and courses  throughout the world including several residencies at Dartington International Summer School, Jackdaws Music Trust, CALARTS in LA, Royal Northern College of Music, Trinity College of Music Junior Department, Royal College of Music, EPTA, Simon Bolivar University in Caracas and Anglia Ruskin University among many.

She holds positions at Trinity Laban and Highgate School and has published two books with Boosey and Hawkes focusing on newly commissioned solo piano music.

Creative Outputs


Piano Icons for the 21st Century Linn records (2000)
Including the world premiere recording of Sir John Tavener’s Ypakoe
(Premiered at the City of London Festival)

‘My disc of 2000 is without hesitation Elena Riu’s extraordinary CD of 20th century piano music’ – Gramophone

‘All the works are spellbinding in Riu’s readings; it is because each note is so exposed that the integrity of these interpretations is so compelling. Riu’s mastery of all-but-inaudible range is not only wonderful but a rare gift in this era of competition winners’ – American Record Guide

Soler Keyboard Sonatas Ensayo records (2002)
‘Riu’s vivacious articulation really shines. A beguiling performance of a unique programme’ – The Independent

Salsa Nueva SOMM Recordings (2004-2005)
‘Salsa Nueva is new music with a difference. just the kind of fresh air that this Venezuelan-born pianist loves to bring to her musical activities and everyone else’s MikroKosmos meets the maracas, Ana Magdalena Bach meets Chick Corea’  – Classical Music

Venezuelan Society for Contemporary Music commemorative CD (2000)
Composer Diana Arismendi Profile CD: Sky Signals (2007)
Out of the Blues, Sargasso, December (2009)


Elena Riu’s R’n’B B Collection (2008-2009-2010)
17 new commissions for solo piano edited, commissioned, recorded and performed by Elena Riu and published by Boosey and Hawkes

Salsa Nueva (2005)
Edited, devised and commissioned by Elena Riu. Published by Boosey and Hawkes
16 premieres of new piano music in a publication aimed at piano lovers from all walks of life.Salsa Nueva was the recipient of Arts Council of England Award


Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho Scholarship
Rosa Sabater Award
Arts Council Award for Salsa Nueva 2004-05
Arts Council Award 2006 Boundary breaking recreation of the Tom Thumb fable tackling issues of mental health and death
Fringe First Award 2006 at the Edinburgh Festival

Elena Riu

Peter Sculthorpe - Night Pieces - Flowers