Ella Adayevskaya

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Elisabeth von Schultz-Adaïewsky
Statue over her grave

Ella Georgiyevna Adayevskaya (Russian: Елла (Елизавета) Георгиевна Адаевская; 22 February 1846 [O.S. 10 February] – 26 July 1926) was a Russian composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist. Adayevskaya was a pseudonym; the composer derived it from the notes A, D, and A, played by the kettledrum in Mikhail Glinka's opera Ruslan and Ludmila. She was also known as Elisabeth (von) Schultz-Adaïewsky, as well as by the pseudonym Bertramin.

Adaïewsky wrote piano concertos, vocal music (including choral settings of the Russian Orthodox liturgy), and two operas. She also edited a collection of Italian dance songs and published her writings on folk music and the music of ancient Greece.


Born in St. Petersburg on 22 February 1846 as Elizaveta von Schultz, Adayevskaya began taking piano lessons with Adolf von Henselt at the age of eight, and also studied with Nicolas von Martinoff. From 1862 until 1866 she continued her studies with Anton Rubinstein and Alexander Dreyschock at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Her other teachers included Alexander Famintsyn, Nikolai Zaremba, and Ignaz Vojácek.

She also studied composition with Zaremba and Famintsyn, and in about 1870 began writing music for the Imperial Chapel Choir. Two operas soon followed. The first, titled variously Neprigozhaya (The Homely Girl) and Doch' boyarina (The Boyar's Daughter), was a one-act piece produced in 1873. The more ambitious Zarya svobody (The Dawn of Freedom) followed in 1877; this four-act work was dedicated by the composer to Tsar Alexander II, but was rejected by the censor because it depicted a scene of a peasant uprising. Adayevskaya wrote one more opera, the comic Solomonida Saburova, but this remained in manuscript. Later, she embarked on several solo concert tours of Europe and settled in Venice in 1882. In 1881, she composed her Greek Sonata for clarinet and piano. This piece, which used quarter tones, was inspired by the composer's study of the music of ancient Greece, the Greek Orthodox Church and Slavic folk music.

In 1882 she went to Italy, collected national songs (among others waltz songs of the Resianer (Rhaetians) in 5-4 time).[1]

On the invitation of Franziska von Loë, she moved to Neuwied, on the Rhine, in 1909. Together they joined the more liberal-minded artistic circle formed around the poet Carmen Sylva. Adayevskaya's musical pursuits eventually came to be dominated by folk music research, which resulted in a substantial output of publications on the subject.

Adayevksaya died in Bonn in 1926. She was buried in the Alter Friedhof, Bonn.



  • Neprigozhaya (The Homely Girl)/Doch' boyarina (The Boyar's Daughter), 1873
  • Zarya svobodï (The Dawn of Freedom), 1877
  • Solomonida Saburova, unperformed

Vocal music[edit]

  • Yolka (The Fir Tree), cantata, c. 1870; also

other choral works, songs

Chamber music[edit]

  • Svabednï khor (Wedding Chorus) overture, c. 1870
  • Greek Sonata for clarinet and piano, 1881
  • piano pieces


  1. ^ Arthur Eaglefield Hulll, A Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians (Dent, London 1924), 6.


Further reading[edit]

  • Hüsken, Renate. Ella Adaïewsky (1846-1926): Pianistin – Komponistin – Musikwissenschaftlerin. Cologne: Dohr, 2005. ISBN 3-936655-18-9.

External links[edit]