Ellen Band-Audible Visions
Biography

Ellen Band
Sound Artist ~ Composer

"...her 'sound art' ...is celestial in its implications and down to earth in its reverence for everyday noises." Kyle Gann, Village Voice

Ellen Band Photo
PHOTO BY BOB RAYMOND
Ellen Band creates sound and music pieces for performance and concert settings, installation, sculpture, and tape. Deeply inspired by the infinitely complex textures, rhythms, and colours within the so-called ordinary sounds of everyday life, she uses the time-honoured technique of field recording to collect the source material she uses for her pieces. She then fashions works which reflect the imagistic, mnemonic (memory), and psychoacoustic properties of sound. Having a strong background in both the 20th Century experimental music and sound art traditions, she crafts sound works which transform familiar sounds into new contexts and forms for listening to, perceiving, and experiencing sound.

Since the mid ‘70s, she has constructed sound works for performance which include instrumentation, projections, video, and live performance. In addition to her solo work, she has collaborated with sound artist Ed Osborn, percussionist Brian Johnson, visual artist Leila Daw, dancer and choreographer Susan Osberg, and performance artist Nancy Adams. Her compositions and intermedia pieces have been performed by percussionists Tom Goldstein and Brian Johnson, bassoonist Janet Underhill, and violinist Adele Armin. Her work has been presented at venues such as: The Stadtgarten, Cologne, Germany; Experimental Intermedia, NYC; Lotus Music and Dance, NYC; The Music Gallery, Toronto; Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT; Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, Oakland, CA; Mex, Dortmund, Germany; Schwarzenberg’schen Meierie, Austria; NonSequitur Foundation, Albuquerque, NM; Sound Symposium 2000, St.John’s, Newfoundland, Canada; SubTropics Festival of Experimental Music, Miami, FL; Mobius and The Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA.

Her first solo CD, 90% Post Consumer Sound, was released February 2001 on XI, the label of Experimental Intermedia, NYC. It has received numerous rave reviews and airplay worldwide including a review in the July 2001 issue of Playboy Magazine. The Wire: Adventures in Modern Music (London, England), January 2002 issue ranked it at the top of its category Modern Composition. Her May 2002 concert in Cologne was recorded and broadcast nationally by German radio WDR (West Deutsche Rundfunk).

Her work in sound installation and sound sculpture began in the 1990s with her psychoacoustic sound installation Acoustic Mirage. This work investigates and simulates the perceptual phenomenon known as 'aural hallucinations' often experienced as voices or music 'heard' within dense fields of pink noise. Acoustic Mirage has been featured at SoundCulture’96 in the San Francisco Bay Area; Studio Five Beekman in New York City, 1999, the Sound Symposium 2000, St. John’s, Nfld., Canada; and Mobius, Boston, MA. In 1997 she was awarded an American Composers Forum Composers Commission Award to create a sound sculpture (not yet complete). Her sound sculpture, Portrait of Ruth Klein, was part of a large exhibit entitled Women Whose Lives Span the Century at the Starr Gallery, Newton, MA (1998). Most recently, The Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA., has commissioned her to create a sound installation for the Vita Brevis program (scheduled to premiere fall 2003).

A native of Toronto, Canada, she was fortunate to attend York University in the early to mid ‘70s during a period when both Toronto and York University had a thriving new music scene. After receiving a BA in Philosophy at York, she entered the music department and studied new music with Pauline Oliveros and David Rosenboom and south Indian classical vocal technique with Jon B. Higgins. In 1977 she moved to San Diego to resume studies with Oliveros. While in San Diego, 1977-1985, she worked and performed with composer David Dunn, poet Jerome Rothenberg, and performed in the Big Jewish Band, a performance art klezmer band. Most notable of these performances was the band’s collaboration with painter Robert Kushner and the performance at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City in 1981. In 1985 she moved to Boston where she received an M.Ed. from Tufts University in ‘88. During the summer of ‘91 she worked with composer James Tenney on specific compositions.

She is often a visiting artist teaching sound art and electronic music at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (2002, 1994-1997) and the Massachusetts College of Art both in Boston. Her artist residencies include Mills College, Center for Contemporary Music, and Schwarzenberg ‘ sche Meierei in Schrattenberg, Austria. In 1994, she founded Audible Visions, a performance space for new music and sound art at Brickbottom Artists’ Building in Somerville, MA.

As a new music educator, beginning in 1974, she pioneered ‘sonic arts’ and interdisciplinary music curriculum preschool through high school. She has presented this curriculum in numerous educational settings in North America and since the late ‘80s she has trained teachers in the applications for this curriculum in school through the graduate school at Wheelock College, the Berklee College of Music, the City Of Somerville, and numerous workshops in the Boston area. Her articles on sound art curriculum are distributed through the Oliveros Foundations’ Deep Listening Publications.

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