Alcalay, Eugene Christian, beloved husband of Ruth Elisabeth Alcalay, devoted father of Juliet Sharon Alcalay, and only son of Gina Sebastian, died of a heart attack in Azusa, California, on June 26, 2019, aged 52. He was preceded in death by his father, Alexander Alcalay, in 1994. Born in Bucharest, Romania, on October 13, 1966, Eugene began playing the piano at age two and composing at age eight. In 1984 he came under the tutelage of the well-known composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, who affirmed his “outstanding talent as both a performer and composer”. Eugene became the first recipient of The Leonard Bernstein Scholarship for gifted young musicians at Indiana University School of Music, where he earned Bachelor’s Degrees in both Piano and Composition. Aided by Maestro Bernstein, Eugene continued his studies at The Curtis Institute of Music and then The Juilliard School, where he attained Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Piano Performance. His teachers included Seymour Lipkin, Robert McDonald, Karen Shaw, James Tocco, Milton Babbitt and Ned Rorem. His performance career took him to five continents and such United States venues as Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall-- Isaac Stern Auditorium. He spent summers at international music festivals such as Tanglewood, Taos, Kneisel Hall and Ravinia. In 2003 Eugene became a Fulbright Scholar, teaching at the Universidad Nacional Conservatory of Music in in Bogota, Colombia; in 2005 he joined the prestigious roster of Steinway Artists. His CD, “Lyrical Liszt”, released in 2008 by the Partita Records label, was praised for “poetry, sensitivity… admirable tonal variety…beautiful playing throughout” (EPTA UK). He held full-time faculty positions at Geneva College, Pennsylvania (1999-2005), The University of Wisconsin-Platteville (2005-2015), and finally Azusa Pacific University (2015-2019); he was also on the piano faculty of the MasterWorks Festival (2002-2018) and the Crescendo Summer Institute (2015-2017). An active member of the American Liszt Society since 2011, he co-founded its Southern California chapter in 2016 and served as its first president. In 2003 he married Ruth Elisabeth Mayers; their daughter, Juliet Sharon, was born in 2016. He enjoyed swimming, hiking, cycling, and travel. His funeral will be held at White’s Funeral Home in Azusa at 12 p.m. on July 15. Memorial service will be at Grace Community Church, 13248 Roscoe Boulevard, Sun Valley at 11 a.m. on July 16, 2019: this will be live-streamed at https://www.gracechurch.org/eventlive. Donations in his honor may be made either to the piano schoarship fund that he established at Azusa Pacific University (apu.edu/give, designate gift to the "ACE Piano Fund") or to the Eugene Alcalay Memorial Fund at the Masterworks Festival (www.masterworksfestival.org/donate, designate gift to this fund).
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