[Santiago] Rodriguez is a world-class pianist; he won the 1975 University of Maryland Piano Competition and took the silver medal in the 1981 Van Cliburn competition. He has made many recordings for Elan and has managed to avoid the problems artists often have with record companies -- because he and his wife, Natalia, own Elan. Natalia directs the company while he teaches at Maryland and performs around the world.
Rarities that deserve more attention have become a specialty of Elan. Some recent examples include Alberto Ginastera's three string quartets, played by the Quarteto Latinoamericano; vocal music of Respighi performed by mezzo-soprano Burjana Antonova with Emil Tabakov conducting the Sofia Chamber Orchestra; and Germaine Tailleferre's complete works for piano duet, played by pianists Mark Clinton and Nicole Narboni. Other pianists on Elan include Pola Baytelman in a two-disc set with the complete "Iberia" of Albeniz and some folk-flavored dance music of Ginastera. The company also offers Noel Lester in an imaginative collection of ragtime music that goes far beyond the tried-and-true Scott Joplin. And Elan recorded William Race in a 20th-century program that includes the only currently available recording of Leon Kirchner's monumental Piano Sonata. Elan has been taking chances with unfamiliar music and artists, but so far the risks have paid off and this small label is making its mark among its giant competitors.
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