is a masterful flutist
who explores new directions in music. Her enthusiasm, coupled with
over thirty-five years of experience and a multi-faceted career, has won her worldwide
acclaim in performance, teaching, improvisation and composition.
As an energetic and entertaining flute performer, Ellen strives
to broaden the sound capabilities of the instrument while challenging the notions
of what a soloist can achieve. Her dedication to promoting
and contemporary classical music
is also reflected in her numerous and diverse ensemble appearances. Jim
Santella of Cadence Magazine said
of Ellen′s unique approach to her instrument and music: "[…]
creative artists such as Burr, who turn the flute into a tool for exploration,
give their audience a wide range of aural experiences."
Ellen's solo debut was with the
Topeka Symphony when she was sixteen, and she has since been a soloist with orchestras
throughout the United States, appearing with the Friends of Music Orchestra in
Pasadena, CA; the Santa Monica Chamber Orchestra in Santa Monica, CA; the Overland
Park Orchestra in
Kansas City, KS and the Wichita State University Orchestra
in Wichita, KS. Ellen has premiered numerous new works by contemporary classical
composers as varied as Roberto Sierra, James Tenney, Alba Potes, Phillipe
Bodin, Daniel Rothman and David Avshalomov. Additionally, Ellen Burr
performs regularly with the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra, Adam Rudolph's Go:
Organic Orchestra, Composer's Ensemble of Los Angeles and her own quartet Kaleidoscope,
and she has played in a duo with bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck, with Wolfgang
Fuchs, Mark Dresser, James Newton, and Yusef Lateef; and with Steuart Liebig′s
Minim and Stigtette, Brad Dutz′s
Nonet, Vinny Golia's Flute Quartet, LoCal Composers Ensemble, Rarebirds with
Steve Burr and Dirt Tribe rock band among others.
As leader of her own multi-disciplinary
"The LA Collective", Ellen brings
together strictly classical musicians with improvising musicians, dancers,
actors, videographers and poets to develop an improvisation style that mixes
indeterminate and structured improvisational forms. She
is also interested in exploring notation to express an idea of structure
and movement that can intermediate all the real time performing arts.
Ellen Burr has been a featured performer at
numerous Los Angeles music festivals and concert series, including: Microfest,
Line Space Line, EarJam, Crypto Night, Women Should Be Seen and Not Heard,
West Hollywood Street Fair, Taste of LA, Santa Monica Folk and Jazz Festival,
Music Marathon, Lira Concerts at LA Harbor College, Sunday Evening Concerts
at Open Gate Theatre, Music at Noon at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, Concerts
West and Music of Changes. She has also appeared at Wichita State University's
2006 Contemporary Music Festival, the 2003 Vancouver Jazz Festival and the
2002 Las Vegas New Music Festival. Her recent
two showcase concerts at the 2009 National Flute Association Annual Convention
in New York City, a self-produced meditation-style concert of Telemann's "Twelve
Fantasies" for solo flute, A "Tribute to Lucky Mosko" with the Los
Angeles Wholesale Orchestra, a Notations 21-Concert of Graphic Scores at the
Chelsea Art Museum in New York City and Vancouver New Music's presentation
of Cornelius Cardew's "Treatise," led
by John Tilbury.
Ellen draws inspiration from the Fluxus
and the esthetics
of many great video artists and concrete
poets. This early influence shows
through her many collaborations with fellow improvisers and various theater
and dance troupes.
She has performed and composed for numerous films, television
and radio shows, chamber music, dance, theater and opera, and has had over
fifty of her compositions
performed in the United States and Europe. She
has written dance scores for Tina Mantel, now Director of Dance at the Zurich
University of the Arts; Heidi Duckler of Collage Dance Theatre, Katja Biesanz
of Dance Theater, and Anet Margot Ris, former dancer with Rudy Perez; and theater
scores for William Fisher, now Dean of Theater at Ohio University in Athens,
2008 she presented a full production of her opera Five, featuring five singers
and five instrumentalists, at the Electric Lodge in Venice, CA. She
is a current member of ASCAP, American Composers Forum, American Music Center,
Music Teachers' Association of California (MTAC) and the National Flute Association.
Ellen Burr is featured on more than twenty
eighteen years, in styles as diverse as experimental classical and Celtic folk. "Duos"
a CD of her own compositions and improvisations with various musicians,
was released in 2006 and has received airplay and reviews around the
globe. A Subito grant from American Composers Forum helped complete Duos. Ellen
is a multiple grant recipient, having received
an additional Subito grant for her production of FIVE, as well as a Composers
in Residence grant from Meet the Composer.
Ellen′s passion for teaching began
when she took on her very first private students, and for more than thirty
years she has been bringing her distinctive teaching style to students around
the world. She encourages a respect for technique coupled with exploration
and discovery. Ellen gives instruction on extended
flute techniques, electronic effects, free and melodic improvisation, theory,
expression and rhythm; as well as lectures on practice planning, nerves, stage
presence, creative business and financial planning for freelance artists, money
matters, networking and even preparing fast and inexpensive meals for working
musicians! She has been in residence
Institute of the Arts, Wichita State University, University of Mary Washington
in Fredricksburg, VA, the National Flute Association Annual Convention, Internales
Symposium de Darstellenden Kunste in Switzerland, Pacific Flute Camp, Wildacres
Flute Retreat and Amadeus Flute Camp. Recent
workshops include: Improvisation Workshop at the Electric Lodge and Music Improvisation
Workshop-Turn on Your Creativity! with Howard Richman and Florence Mercurio
Riggs at Guitar Merchant in Canoga Park, CA.
Ellen Burr maintains a busy private
in Los Angeles.
Her students have held positions in California state bands and orchestras and
have won numerous local solo competitions including: Kiwanis Club, Brentwood
Symphony, Marina Women's Club, Palisades Symphony Annual Young Artists Award
and Westside Committee of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Scholarship. They
have gone on to attend prestigious universities such as Boston Conservatory,
Peabody Conservatory, University of Southern California and State University
of New York at Buffalo. In addition to teaching, Ellen has been coaching and
adjudicating student competitions and chamber music since 2004. She is
presently a coach for Junior Chamber Music and a judge for Music Teachers'
Association of California's Certificate of Merit.
Ellen has been conducting student and professional groups since 1986. She
is currently the conductor of the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra and the LA Collective.
She will conduct a flute choir reading session at the National Flute Association's
2010 Annual Convention in Anaheim, CA.
Ellen is a Yamaha Performing Artist and a Smart Music Clinician. Ellen earned
a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance from Wichita State University,
where she studied flute with Dr. Frances Shelly and composition with Dr. Walter
Mays, began exploring free improvisation under the direction of Dr. Arthur
Wolff and participated in classes with visiting artists John Cage and R. Murray
Schafer. She went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music Composition
from California Institute of the Arts, studying with Pulitzer Prize winner
Mel Powell, Earle Brown, Morton Subotnick, Vinko Globokar and Stephen Mosko.
Ellen has also studied flute with Jim Walker, and has participated in master-classes
with William Bennett and Michel Debost. In addition, she was awarded the coveted
Certificat de Stage after studying with Jean Pierre Rampal at the Academie
Internationale D'Ete in France.
In 1997 Ellen was the subject of a feature article, “Teaching Self-Awareness,” in
Flute Talk, and has since been a contributing editor to the magazine. Her series
of articles spans a variety of subjects such as "Being a Casual Musician," "The
Trick to Staying Fresh With a Full Teaching Load," "Building Confidence," and "Building
a Studio." Ellen is also a new music reviewer for the Australian ezine
Flute Focus. Under her own EClectic Buzz label, she has written and published
Syukhtun, a solo flute composition featuring singing and playing at once; Flutastics,
an extended techniques method book; Intervallic Studies on Symmetrical Scales,
a 250 page exercise book; and Ink Bops, an improvisational graphic card deck.
Ink Bops is included in Notations 21, an anthology of innovative musical notation,
edited by Theresa Sauer and published by Mark Batty (New York, 2008).
Born in Buffalo, NY and raised in Detroit and Kansas City, Ellen came from a loving but decidedly non-musical family. At age ten, to avoid a social studies class, she took up flute in the school band and quickly developed a love for the instrument and a direction for her life. Ellen's busy and eclectic career reflects the very whimsical way in which it began.
Ellen's unbridled creativity is extends to her line of silver
and gold jewelry made from flute parts
and other instruments, called Music
For Your Eyes
and music lovers alike covet Ellen's unique handmade designs. Her work is available
She currently lives in Venice, CA with her husband Steve Burr, their cat and
her two lovingly hand-raised parakeets.