Columbia College Chicago

Meet the Faculty

Elif Allenfort

A Native of Turkey, Elif Allenfort demonstrated her substantial musical talent at an early age.  She began her lifelong study of piano at the age of seven.  Her precocious talent earned her early admission to the Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory in Ankara, Turkey at the age of nine.  Elif remained at the conservatory until she was nineteen years old, studying under the noted teacher Banu Perk.

 Elif's performance career began when she gave her first major concert with the symphony orchestra in Ankara at the age of thirteen, in which she played the Mozart Piano Concerto K.488.  While at the Ankara conservatory, Elif performed throughout Turkey, appearing on stage, on the radio and on television. Elif graduated from Ankara Conservatory in 1993, earning the rare honor of being the top graduate in the conservatory and the University at large.  Her accomplishments at the conservatory also earned her the distinguished "Ihsan Dogramaci Highest Artistic Achievement" award. She was one of the youngest graduates ever from Ankara State Conservatory at age 19, having finished her studies one year ahead of the usual time.

 Elif continued her education in Brussels, Belgium, moving there immediately after her graduation in 1993.  Utilizing a private scholarship (Zeki- Figen Cakmak), she studied at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels until 1995 under Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden and Teresa Escudero. Elif left the Royal Conservatory when she won a full scholarship to the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Musical College where she continued her studies with Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden. She continued to perform solo and chamber music recitals during her stay in Belgium and participated in numerous master classes with the leading pianist in Europe such as Radu Lupu and Idil Biret.

 Elif first visited America in July of 1996.  Upon her decision to remain in America, she was admitted to Roosevelt University Chicago Musical College in 1997 where she received the "Ruth Ramis Music Fund Scholarship" as well as Roosevelt university Graduate Scholarship. Elif's instructor and mentor at Roosevelt University was Dr. Ludmila Lazar, a former student of the legendary pianist, Rudolph Ganz.  Elif completed her Master's Degree with honors in the spring of 2001. She was immediately admitted to Roosevelt's Artist Diploma program, in which she completed her post-graduate degree in the winter of 2005. 

 An active chamber and solo performer, in America, Elif has continued to develop 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, members of the CSO, Chicago Lyric Opera and performed with Roosevelt University Orchestra.. She is an active member of Calumet Chamber Musicians as well as her newly formed chamber group, The Omnitones. Since 2003, Elif also has been performing extensively 4-hand and 2 piano recitals with notable Chicago pianists. In addition to her performances in Chicago, Elif regularly returns to Turkey to perform solo recitals and with several state symphony orchestras. 

 Elif taught at the Betty Haag Academy of Roosevelt University from 2001 until 2005. Since her arrival in Chicago, she has taught students at different levels; children, adults, pre-college students as well as group lessons. Currently, in addition to her private studio, she is the piano division head at the Metropolis School of the Performing Arts in Arlington Heights and is in the faculty of Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia  College Chicago.  She is also the pianist for the Lake Shore Unitarian Society in Winnetka, Illinois.