University Place, Syracuse University
Elisa Dekaney

Setnor School of Music
Associate Professor
Chair, Music Education

Elisa Macedo Dekaney serves as the chair of the music education program and is dually appointed by the School of Education and the College of Visual and Arts to teach graduate and undergraduate courses in the areas of choral music, research in music, and world music. In 2014 she joined the prestigious core faculty of the Renée Crown Honors Program.

Along with husband Joshua Dekaney, Elisa Dekaney has been the founder and director of Samba Laranja: the Syracuse University Brazilian Ensemble since 2001. Under their direction Samba Laranja performs regularly for k-12 schools across Central New York and for events in the community and on campus. The group has also performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City four times since 2010 and has been awarded two Syracuse Area Music Awards for Best Recording Other Style in 2011 and 2015 for the recordings Native Orange and Pathways, respectively.

From 2003 to 2011, Dekaney was music director and conductor of the Syracuse University Oratorio Society, an auditioned choir that performed regularly with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. Currently she directs Concert Choir, a non-auditioned ensemble open to all students at Syracuse University. In 2016 she will be one of the conductors for the international chorus festival America Cantat 8 in the Bahamas, an event sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dekaney earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance at the Seminário Teológico Batista do Sul do Brasil and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Universidade Federal Fluminense. She continued her studies in the United States, earning a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City under Eph Ehly and a Ph.D. in choral music education from the Florida State University under André Thomas, Judy Bowers, Clifford Madsen, and Rodney Eichenberger.

Dekaney has been an active researcher, clinician, and choral conductor in the United States and abroad. Her scholarly research has been published in such peer-reviewed journals as the Journal of Research in Music Education, The Choral Journal, International Education, Music Educators Journal, Contributions to Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, and Update. Carl Fischer and BriLee have published her choral arrangements of Brazilian folksongs co-written with Lon Beery, and her book, co-authored with Deborah Cunningham, Travel On and On: Interdisciplinary Lessons on the Music of World Cultures, is published by Rowman and Littlefield Education and the National Association for Music Education.

As part of her service to the choral music education profession, Dekaney has served for several terms as the New York State American Choral Directors Association repertoire and standards chair for ethnic and multicultural music. Additionally, she served for four years as chair of the special research interest group in learning and development of the National Association for Music Education. For the past four years Dekaney has been the repertoire and standards chair for ethnic and multicultural perspectives for the Eastern Division American Choral Directors Association.

In 2006 Dekaney was awarded the Paul and Veronica Abel Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Art of Choral Performance, and in 2015 she received the Tiffany Award for Outstanding Service to the Cause of Music, both awarded by the Civic Morning Musicals. In 2007 the College of Visual and Performing Arts honored her with an Outstanding Faculty Award. In 2011 she was a Curt Silberman Seminar Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., where she engaged in advanced Holocaust studies.