She was born Esta Damesek in the Bronx in 1933 and grew up in a Jewish household, the only child of pianist Abbe Damesek and cellist Sally Kempler. Abbe Damesek was a pianist in vaudeville, on cruise ships, and at silent movies, then taught piano for many years. Esta at her pianoDespite being a piano teacher himself, Abbe paid another teacher to give Esta piano lessons to avoid father-daughter conflicts. Esta began teaching piano herself at age 17. She attended the Manhattan School of Music. Esta married sculptor Robert Blood in 1953. During the early years of their marriage, they lived in Manhattan where they created unique jewelry that combined metal and wood. They moved to Bob's birthplace, Schenectady, NY, in 1955. For over 60 years, Esta Blood taught piano to hundreds of children and adults, one of which was a Capital District TV news anchor in the evenings. Esta began composing in 1966 for solo instruments, voice, chamber music, and orchestra. She attended composer’s workshops at Bennington College in 1977 and 1979. Her 1977 composition, Sculpture Dance, combined three distinct art forms: music, dance, and visual arts (a live audience watched choreographed professional dancers dance to harp music while assembling plywood sculpture pieces, created by Robert Blood, into a complete sculpture). Her lifelong fondness for Balkan music and Mideast folk dancing inspired her to integrate the region’s uneven rhythms into several of her compositions. In 1979, her Bulgarian Trio won first place in the annual International Wind & String Chamber Music Competition in Los Alamos, NM. Esta Blood died in 2017, age 84.

Compositions by Esta Blood:
  1. Blood, Esta. Seven Dances in Aksak Rhythms for Solo Piano. 1969.
  2. Blood, Esta. Balkan Suite for Piano Solo. New York: G. Schirmer, 1970. Hear it performed on YouTube.
  3. Blood, Esta. Folkdances from the Balkans for Solo Piano. 1972.
  4. Blood, Esta. Piano Fun. 1972.
  5. Blood, Esta. Bulgarian Trio for Flute, Violin, and Piano. 1973. Los Alamos Arts Council, Wind/String Chamber Music Composition Awards, first place, 1979
  6. Blood, Esta. Jack and The Beanstalk for Flute, Violin, Viola, Bassoon, and Narrator. 1973.
  7. Blood, Esta. Improvisations on Shaker Tunes for Soprano, Flute, Violin and Viola. 1975.
  8. Blood, Esta. Five-Legged Spider for Piano Solo. 1977.
  9. Blood, Esta. Sculpture Dance for Solo Harp, Sculpture, and Dancers. 1977. A three-movement work based on Balkan rhythms. Each movement employs a rhythmic ostinato, a repeating bass pattern with different melodic material layered on top.
  10. Blood, Esta. If for classical guitar solo. Guitar Foundation of America. 1977 or 1982.
  11. Blood, Esta. 3 Variations for 2 Pianos, 8 Hands. Dubuque, Iowa: Sine Music Co, 1978.
  12. Blood, Esta. Variations on A Duality for Solo Piano. 1980.
  13. Blood, Esta. Fanfare for Orchestra. 1984. Commissioned by the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra.
  14. Blood, Esta. Seascape. Piano for 2 Hands. 1985.
  15. Blood, Esta. Five Armenian Folksongs for Soprano, Clarinet, and Guitar. Probably ~1994.
  16. Blood, Esta. Five Armenian Folksongs: Flute Version. Waltham, MA. Frank E. Warren Music. 1994.
  17. Blood, Esta. Willow Tree - An Album of Shaker Music Arrangements. Unknown Date.
  18. Blood, Esta. 5 Bach Fugues for Piano 4 Hands? Exact Name Unknown. Date Unknown.
  19. Blood, Esta. Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works. Exact Name Unknown. Date Unknown.
Return to text