Local Resident

Local Resident

Musical and gourmet magic on our doorstep

By Beth Klein 

Tucked away in a side street in East Doncaster a cultural banquet of music and food is taking place.

Elyane Laussade presents Studio Laussade, a series of intimate recitals held five times a year in her Greendale Road home. It might sound unusual, and it is, but Elyane assures it is a joyous celebration and “close-up evening of classical music and delicious food.”

Elyane is a successful concert pianist who has played around the world. She is also an accomplished and self-confessed foodie and her banquets are a gift to her fellow music lovers -it’s all included in the ticket price.

Her most recent recital on the 28 May featured emerging artist, baritone and Melbourne Conservatorium Honours student, Alex Owens. The evening included a variety of music and songs from Rachmaninov, Glanville-Hicks, Mahler, and a solo piano piece from Ravel.

Sparkling wine is served on arrival and everyone is invited to Elyane’s buffet ‘party’ afterwards. On this occasion, the menu included stuffed mushrooms, baked brie with flaked almonds, marinated barbecued lamb, ratatouille, potatoes gratin, couscous salad and more.

Elyane has a natural gift for piano but it has come with years of study and hard work - she still practices between four to six hours a day. Born in Houston Texas to a French mother, Elyane speaks fluent French, and an American father, she and her siblings studied piano from an early age. Elyane recognised at 5-years-old, “there was just never anything else I wanted to do.”

After studying music at Houston University, she went on to do her masters at the Juilliard School in New York – one of the top conservatories in the world. Elyane likens it to a tertiary version of the fictional school in the FAME movie and TV series. She was later invited and paid to do her Doctorate at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

It was in New York, where competition for concert work was fierce, where the original idea for her home-based recitals began. She vividly recalls the idea suddenly coming to her while rowing on the lake in Central Park, "I could be the musical gourmet". 

She came up with the idea to cook and perform in people’s (i.e. wealthy New Yorkers) homes. She started a business and before long was cooking 8-course sit-down dinners and while the last course was being served, she would change into her performance gown and play a “concert from a musical menu”. She recalls, “it was exhausting and a lot of work but loads of fun”.

In 1992 she auditioned for the Sydney International piano competition and was invited – expenses paid, to audition in Sydney. Unfortunately, of 260 pianists from 44 countries only 40 were selected and Elyane missed out. The trip however was by no means unsuccessful. Her piano of choice was a Yamaha and the representative had a certain charm she could not resist. “He and I hit it off,” she recalls. “He not only tuned my piano but gave me a couple of children.”

When she returned to New York he followed, they married and moved to Melbourne in 1996, her husband’s hometown, to raise their children. She said, “I wanted my child[ren] to have something really beautiful, peaceful and safe”. 

In 2008 while living in Mont Albert she began her home recitals.

Elyane has been living in East Doncaster since 2011, where she continues her Studio Laussade, playing breathtaking music and cooking delicious buffets for guests, between other performances, teaching piano and adjudicating.

Elyane’s story is fascinating, and she has penned an autobiography – a COVID lockdown project, which she hopes will be published soon.

Visit Elyane online at https://elyanelaussade.com.au/ to subscribe to her mailing list or follow her on Facebook for upcoming events.