Founder & CEO
During her colorful and varied career, Elena has curated surprising concerts and artists talks, created award-winning music and culture programs for international television and radio networks, and produced live events for many of New York City's leading venues. In executive positions at leading institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera and WNYC Radio, she has worked in creative content, media, and marketing & communications – posts that have given her the opportunity to collaborate with many of the world's foremost artists and cultural leaders. To explore a range of creative projects, she founded Lumahai Productions, LLC, in November 2014.
For the recently-opened National Sawdust, the dynamic, artist-led, non-profit music venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, she created NationalSawdust+, a series of concerts and conversations in an intimate setting. From rocker Patti Smith to RadioLab's Jad Abumrad to artists Marina Abramovic, Yo-Yo Ma and Carrie Mae Weems, leading figures in the world of film, theater, media, literature, science and art are given a platform to share their musical passions with the Williamsburg audience, and to explore ideas with musicians and composers they admire. NS+ Concerts have been curated by RadioLab’s Abumrad, directors Michael Mayer and Julie Taymor, award-winning novelist Jacqueline Woodson, visual artists Mickalene Thomas and Elizabeth Peyton; and "Brainpickings" creator Maria Popova, to name a few. NS+ Talks have paired thinkers such as Marina Abramovic + Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith + Waltraud Meier, and Chris Jackson + Rachel Eliza Griffiths.
Elena is Music Producer for the feature film, Bel Canto, based on Ann Patchett's novel, starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe, directed by Paul Weitz (with Renée Fleming as the voice of Roxane Coss). She worked on the Golden Globe-award winning Amazon series, Mozart in the Jungle, starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Lola Kirke. For Season Four, she served as Creative Consultant, advising on scripts, music, and casting. During Season Three, she was stationed on set in Venice, Italy, working closely with Monica Bellucci, who played an opera diva (sung by soprano Ana María Martinez), as well as artists such as Plácido Domingo and Nico Muhly.
Elena was tapped by the new leadership at the Kennedy Center to serve as Artistic Consultant for its JFK Centennial, as the institution launched ambitious programming initiatives; she is at work on creating talks for the Kennedy Center, which in partnership with National Geographic, presents a season themed around The Human Journey.
She is a Supervising Producer of the Metropolitan Opera's Peabody- and Emmy-award winning Live in HD series, seen in movie theaters in 70 countries worldwide, and an Executive Producer of the Met's international Saturday radio broadcasts. Previously, Elena supervised Marketing and Communications at the Met, the world’s largest opera company. She curated Met events with partners including Guggenheim Works & Process and Live at NYPL (New York Public Library), and produced "The Met at Le Poisson Rouge," a series of adventurous concerts featuring Met artists such as Anna Netrebko, Simon Keenlyside, Thomas Adès, and Nico Muhly in a West Village club. She also produced new production photo shoots with photographers such as Brigitte Lacombe, Anne Deniau, and Nick Heavican, featuring many of the Met's leading opera stars.
While Executive Producer for Music & Culture for WNYC Radio (the flagship station, now called New York Public Radio), her specials included “The Ring and I: The Myth, the Passion, the Mania,” hosted by Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad, and “Walt Whitman: Song of Myself,” hosted by artist Carl Hancock Rux, as well as live concerts with ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic.
She served as Consulting HD Producer for Kanye West's Adidas YEEZY show in February 2015 ~ the first time a fashion launch was shared live via satellite with a global audience.
Collaborating with NGO Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), Elena helped to conceive Season of Cambodia, a festival showcasing Cambodian art and culture in 34 leading NYC venues in Spring 2013. She was project advisor for Bangsokol, the first Requiem to honor the victims and survivors of the Khmer Rouge; the multimedia piece, directed and designed by Oscar-nominated auteur Rithy Panh, with music by Him Sophy, premiered at the Melbourne International Festival in the fall of 2017. Prior to the run at BAM (and Paris premiere), she worked with the Asia Society to produce a panel including Panh and CLA's Phloeun Prim with Angelina Jolie and Loung Ung (First They Killed My Father), moderated by Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.
She was editor-in-chief of andante.com and managed communications for BAM and San Francisco Opera. For the San Francisco Chronicle, she has interviewed artists ranging from Yoko Ono to Philip Glass, Robert Lepage to Clive Owen. In addition to serving on grant panels for organizations such as MAP and the Jerome Foundation, she speaks regularly at conferences in the U.S. and abroad, including Theater * Future Encounters forum (in Taiwan, presented by the Koo Foundation in 2019), ISPA (Seoul, Korea) and Classical: NEXT, where she served on the 2016 jury for the Rotterdam conference.