An orchestra violinist in New York appeals for help with brain cancer

An orchestra violinist in New York appeals for help with brain cancer


norman lebrecht

December 27, 2017

We’ve been asked by the NY-based Terra Symphony Orchestra to post this appeal on behalf of one of their players, Elektra Curtis.

Elektra Kurtis is a violinist, improviser, and composer, a wonderful, spirited woman in the prime of her creative and professional output. She stands at the center of the NYC classical and jazz freelance scene, appearing everywhere from top recording sessions to shows as bandleader of her own music. Everyone who knows Elektra is magnetized by her funny, kind, and generous personality. 

In September and October of 2017, Elektra started having trouble thinking clearly. Massive headaches began soon thereafter. After a seizure in her left hand, her doctor advised an MRI and CAT scan of her head, which revealed a tumorous mass 3×5 centimeters in her pre-frontal cortex, along with several others behind it. She underwent invasive brain surgery to remove the tumor….

Read on here, and help if you can.


  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    This is very sad. She has the same (very aggressive) kind of tumour that Hvorostovsky had, and we now know that his doctors only gave him 18 months (which he turned into 30 months). However, she probably doesn’t have the sort of resources he had. I don’t think my modest donation will do a lot for her from the medical point of view, but it might help to make her life a tiny bit easier.

  • susan says:

    I am praying 4 your recovery right now. i m not religous but spiritual. Read study done in finlad r some Scandinavian country n Harvert Prayer works. i dont know U bit i prayed 4 my son n put him on multiple prayer list including st judes n he has just recieved news his chemo has been decreased from 16 weeks to 8 weeks die to improvement in his,lab tests. Ask everyone to prayer for you …..

  • Me! says:

    As a future heads up to people (with or without dependents) if your employer doesn’t provide (or as self employed you are your employer) you should buy disability and health (and renters or homeowners) insurance not hit up/beg strangers; this is exactly what they (and I suppose your adult children- who set up the request for her) are for

    • Zelda Macnamara says:

      This is technically accurate, but it is heartless. I take it that you refuse to help people you don’t know, and also would reject any help from strangers. I don’t live in your world, obviously.

      • Me! says:

        The point wasn’t strangers the point was this is what disability and health insurance are for- her son set up the fundraising go fund me and wrote how there was nothing she could do as she was self employed to provide for this (she had no employer who provided coverage) – it sounds like you didn’t go so far as to click the link and read the plea

    • Blair Tindall says:

      Health insurance in the US only covers part of medical costs — and hers would be staggering. There can also be a high deductible (the amount of medical costs charged before insurance kicks in); I pay $6,000/year for individual health insurance (not Obamacare/ACA, just mainstream insurance and that’s pretty cheap for someone my age) and had a high percentage of out-of-pocket expenses when I broke my ankle last year. Hers is a clear instance where musicians can (and do) step in to help a colleague. There are also arts nonprofits like Actors’ Fund and Musicares — associated with the Recording Academy — that have some emergency resources.