Violinist, composer, and sound sculptor Ellen Band, a native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was born in 1952. She attended York University in the early to mid-'70s during a period when there was a thriving local new music scene. After receiving a B.A. in philosophy at York, she entered the music department and studied 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 from 1977-1985, she worked and performed with composer David Dunn and poet Jerome Rothenberg, Band was a member of the Big Jewish Band, a performance art klezmer ensemble that played in 1981 with painter Robert Kushner at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 1985 she moved to Boston, where she received a Masters of Education from Tufts University in 1988. During the summer of 1991 she worked with composer James Tenney.
Band has constructed sound works including projections, video, and live music 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. Percussionists Tom Goldstein and Brian Johnson, bassoonist Janet Underhill, and violinist Adele Armin have presented her compositions and intermedia pieces. Her work has been showcased all over the Eastern Seaboard and Canada; Germany and Austria; Mills College in Oakland, CA; the NonSequitur Foundation in Albuquerque, NM; and the SubTropics Festival of Experimental Music in Miami, FL.
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 so-called pink noise. In 1994 she founded Audible Visions, a performance space for new music and sound art at the Brickbottom Artists Building in Somerville, MA, and in 1997 Band was awarded an American Composers Forum Composers Commission Award to create a sound sculpture. Another major work, "Portrait of Ruth Klein," was part of the exhibit Women Whose Lives Span the Century at the Starr Gallery in Newton, MA, in 1998. The Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston commissioned her to create a sound installation for the Vita Brevis program in the fall of 2003.
As an educator, Band pioneered a sonic arts and interdisciplinary music curriculum for preschoolers. She has presented this curriculum in numerous settings around North America since the late '80s, and has trained teachers in these applications through the graduate school at Wheelock College, the Berklee College of Music, the City of Somerville, and numerous workshops in the Boston area. Her first solo CD, 90% Post Consumer Sound, was released in February 2001 on XI, the label of Experimental Intermedia. She is often a visiting artist teaching sound art and electronic music at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Massachusetts College of Art, both in Boston. Her articles on sound art curriculum are distributed through the Deep Listening Institute's online catalog. ~ Michael G. Nastos