Dr. Ellis is a dynamic contemporary harpist and improviser. From using screwdrivers to forks to electric fans on the strings, Dr. Ellis continually creates new sounds on her instrument. In 2015 she was named both a composer and a performance fellow at the Splice Institute for Electro-Acoustic Music and a 2014 Atlantic Music Festival Future Music Lab fellow, she is the first harpist to be accepted to a One Beat Fellowship (2016) as well as the Fresh Inc. Festival (Summer 2013) and the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival (2011, 2012) where she both performed new music and gave premieres of her own pieces. She has also made appearances at the Spark Festival for Electronic Music and Arts as a founding member member of OINC and the Britten-Pears Composers Residency as principal harp. Dr. Ellis is also a founding member of The Admiral Launch Duo, a harp and saxophone duo fusing new music, improvisation, and inter-arts collaboration. She also plays with the new music group Seen/Heard Trio and All Sanctuary. She is a member at Center for New Music in San Francisco. Her genre-flexibility led her to perform at the opening celebration for Oberlin’s new jazz building including accompanying Stevie Wonder and a concert featuring Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO at MOCA Cleveland.
Dr. Ellis is committed to working directly with composers and expanding the harp repertory. She has led workshops for composers on how to write for harp, discussing topics ranging from notation to extended techniques. For more information about workshops, click here. She has led workshops for composers at locations including Bowling Green State University, The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Michigan, Fresh Inc., Bang on a Can, Atlantic Music Festival.
In addition to expanding the acoustic range of the harp with her specialty in extended techniques, Dr. Ellis has used cutting edge motion sensor technology to enhance electroacoustic harp performance. To date, Dr. Ellis has performed over forty premieres.
A curious and playful improviser, she trained with the Creative Arts Orchestra (Ann Arbor, MI) and OINC (Oberlin, OH) and her improvisation skills has seen her perform on jazz programs and avant-garde classical programs alike. She also teaches workshops on improvisation and extended techniques for harpists. Read more here.