Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Instructor of Saxophone


  • D.M.A., University of Iowa, Saxophone Performance
  • M.M., Bowling Green State University, Saxophone Performance
  • B.M., Northwestern University, Saxophone Performance & Music Education

Teaching Specialties

  • Applied Saxophone
  • Saxophone Repertoire & Pedagogy
  • Chamber Music

Courses Taught

  • Applied Saxophone
  • Saxophone Chamber Music
  • Single Reed Techniques
  • Fundamentals of Music
  • Symphonic and Chamber Literature

Research Interests

  • Saxophone Performance, Repertoire, and Pedagogy
  • Guillermo Lago


  • North American Saxophone Alliance
  • Pi Kappa Lambda


An award-winning saxophonist and music educator, Elissa Kana has performed in festivals and conferences worldwide. Most recently, the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) presented Elissa as a featured classical solo artist at their 2021 Region 3 Conference. In 2014, Elissa was named second-prize winner of the International Saxophone Symposium and Competition (ISSAC) in Columbus, Georgia. Additionally, Elissa was awarded the Arden J. Yockey Scholarship for Woodwinds by the Tuesday Musical Association of Ohio in 2011 and was a winner of the Northwestern University Concerto Competition in 2009.

A passionate chamber musician, Elissa holds the alto chair of the Colere Quartet, which was awarded the Gold Medal at the 2020 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the First Prize in Winds, Brass, and Percussion at the 2019 Plowman Chamber Music Competition. Since 2012, she has regularly collaborated with fellow saxophonist John Cummins to promote music written for saxophone duos. The duo has presented world premieres at conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance as well as at the World Saxophone Congress. As a member of the Iowa Saxophonists’ Workshop, Elissa toured Asia, giving performances at the Hong Kong International Saxophone Symposium and at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu, China.

Elissa currently works as Instructor of Saxophone at Arkansas State University. She has served on the faculty of Monmouth College and the University of Northern Iowa, and since 2018, has spent her summers teaching at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. Previously based in Chicago, Illinois, Elissa served on the woodwind faculty at the Merit School of Music and played baritone saxophone in the Northshore Concert Band.

Elissa recently completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Iowa, where she was a recipient of the Iowa Performance Fellowship and served as a teaching assistant for both the saxophone studio and the musicology area. She earned her Master of Music in saxophone performance from Bowling Green State University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University. Her principal teachers include Frederick L. Hemke, John Sampen, Kenneth Tse, and Karen Wylie.