Anna Maria McElwain is a Finnish-born musician who started piano and violin lessons at the age of six. After studying at Turku Conservatory under the guidance of the Polish pianist, Elzbieta Guzek, she continued her studies in the United States at State University of New York at Buffalo with Dr Stephen Manes. At the age of 21 she had already completed a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance as well as a Master of Arts degree in Music Theory. In her theoretical studies she specialized in the musical meaning of the Massoretic signs of the Hebrew Bible. Based on her studies she has recorded recitation of the Hebrew Bible. Besides piano, Anna Maria has played the harpsichord and fortepiano as well, and in the past decade she has specialized in the clavichord. She studied it under the guidance of Dr. Pekka Vapaavuori at Sibelius Academy. In 2009 she finished her clavichord diploma with excellent grades achieving a Master of Music degree in clavichord performance.
Anna Maria taught at the Sibelius Academy Kuopio department until 2010 and currently focuses mainly on giving clavichord concerts giving about 50 recitals a year. Anna Maria has explored the limits of the clavichord with the Beethoven Sonatas and has played Chopin on the clavichord mainly as a curiosity, which resulted in a study on the topic, ”The Clavichordist’s View on the Chopin Preludes” which compares the possibilities of the Swedish clavichords with the German models.
Anna Maria performs currently with the aid of grants which she received from the Finnish National Council of Arts and Northern Savonia Council of Arts. Together with Dr Michael Tsalka Anna Maria is the founder and artistic director of The Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival (Kuopio, Finland, second edition August 14-23, 2013).