About the President and Administrative Director

ELAYNE DUKE is a native Baltimorean who, since early childhood, was a close family friend of the legendary, Metropolitan Opera dramatic soprano, Rosa Ponselle. Miss Duke is among the last of the three living, close personal friends of Ponselle. The other two are Enrico Aloi and Joseph Vaughn.  Since 1982, she has served as President and Chief Administrative Director of the Rosa Ponselle Charitable Foundation, Inc., the Rosa Ponselle INTERNATIONAL Competition for the Vocal Arts, and the Rosa Ponselle "ALL MARYLANDERS'" Competition.

Trained in violin between the ages of 8 to 16 at the Peabody Conservatory of Music under American composer and violin virtuoso, Louis Cheslock, and privately with violinist George Steiner, Miss Duke also studied painting and sculpture during her childhood and teen years at the Maryland Institute of Art.

A graduate teacher in elementary school education with a degree of Bachelor of Science, she also holds post-graduate masters degrees in Art Education and Elementary School Education from Towson State University. She did her doctoral studies in Art History at The Johns Hopkins University. Further post-graduate studies in archaeology, art history, and German language were added to her curriculum vitae while studying at the University of Paris, the University of Vienna, and the University of Jerusalem. While in Paris, Miss Duke studied painting at the Accademie de la Grande Chaumiere, and at the Accademie delle Belle Arte in Florence, Italy; and had, until 1980, exhibited her paintings in group, invitational, and one-woman shows. Miss Duke also studied painting in the studios of Louis Bouché and Sidney Dickinson at the Art Students' League of New York.

Miss Duke taught for one year as an elementary school teacher in Ellicott City, Maryland and was, for eight years, a Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Villa Julie College in Baltimore County and Harford College in Harford County, Maryland. In 1967 during her first year teaching at Villa Julie College, she was selected among a field of 200 outstanding American college teachers to receive that year's National Teaching Fellowship Award. She had, on frequent occasions during her teaching years, been a guest lecturer at universities and colleges in Art History and Archaeology. Between 1977 and 1981, ELAYNE DUKE became the personal representative of the ailing Metropolitan Opera diva, Rosa Ponselle, a long-time family friend, who later appointed her in her Will as Director of her Foundation and the Administrative Director of The Rosa Ponselle Museum at "Villa Pace".

Although not credited by the author, Miss Duke assisted James Drake in securing interviews with Rosa Ponselle on the three occasions he met with Ponselle, and other interviewees in his first and second books on Rosa Ponselle, and in gathering research information, photographs and the editing of materials which resulted in his first and second books.. Miss Duke assisted Mary Jane Phillips-Matz in the editing of her book on Rosa Ponselle.

Miss Duke has served on international competition juries such as the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Boris Christoff Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria, the international Japanese Competition in Tokyo, Japan, the Enrico Caruso Competition in Milan, Italy and the Busseto-Verdi Competition in Italy. While serving on the Tchaikovsky jury in Moscow in 1990, she received a gold medal and a citation from the Minister of Culture for her outstanding contribution to the cause of nurturing and training young vocal talents. Miss Duke has served on national symposia panels, and is a frequent lecturer in conservatories and universities throughout the U.S.A. and Canada on the "Life and Times of Rosa Ponselle". She also serves as a guidance counselor in vocal and artistic training and professional career development to young opera singers.

On behalf of The Rosa Ponselle Foundation's Educational and Scholarship Programs, Miss Duke has given national and worldwide audio visual lectures to opera centers, university opera programs and conservatories on the life and art of Rosa Ponselle. She organized biennially the Rosa Ponselle INTERNATIONAL Competition for the Vocal Arts; the Annual Rosa Ponselle "ALL MARYLANDERS'" Competition, during which "Showcase" Concerts and master classes have been presented for the benefit of the laureates and contestants and the public.

Miss Duke organized the centenary year celebrations for Rosa Ponselle which included a postage stamp dedication, "Showcase" Concerts of young vocal laureates, master classes and illustrated lectures in the U.S.A., England and Italy and the reissue of recordings on CD.

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