Ashfield musician releases CD to honor photojournalist Cynthia Elbaum who died in Russian air raid in Chechnya

Cori Urban | Special to The Republican By Cori Urban | Special to The Republican
on December 29, 2014 at 9:57 AM, updated December 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM 


ASHFIELD –An Ashfield music and video producer has released a CD of music meant not only as a memorial, but a celebration of the life of Smith College graduate and photojournalist Cynthia Elbaum who was 28 when she was killed during a Russian air raid on Chechnya, in 1994.

Tony Jillson, of Birdwaves Media, describes the music on “For Cynthia” as “New Classical,” saying it is rooted in the classical tradition, but has elements of Eastern European folk, rock and electronic music. “The CD has pieces that are very rhythmic and driven. At other times it is soft and introspective,” he said.

CD for Cynthia: Musician remembers photojournalist friend, Smith grad, killed while covering Chechen-Russian War


Thursday, February 5, 2015

(Published in print: Thursday, February 5, 2015)

Tony Jillson can still remember the moment, in late December 1994, when the phone rang in his Brooklyn apartment. A reporter from The New York Times was on the line, asking about a childhood friend of his, Cynthia Elbaum, a freelance photojournalist. Did Jillson know that she had been killed, just the day before, during a Russian air raid in Chechnya, where Elbaum was covering the early stages of the First Chechen- Russian War?

Jillson, an Ashfield musician and recording engineer, has never forgotten the shock and despair of that day. He and Elbaum had grown up together in Ashfield, and Jillson’s wife, Martha Lively, also from Ashfield, had been a great friend of Elbaum as well. Now Cynthia was gone, killed at age 28 by a Russian bomb in the battered Chechen capital of Grozny.