Biographies: Ellen Fishman-Johnson
Ellen Fishman-Johnson was born in the foothills of Northern California in 1961 Her early training included the study of piano, clarinet and saxophone with a special interest in jazz improvisation. She studied music composition at San Francisco State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the Peabody Conservatory, and at the Conservatoire Americain de Fontainebleau. Her music is greatly influenced by her studies with French composer, Gérard Grisey, a composer of "determined formalism."
She is a composer with a variety of musical interests and writes for traditional ensembles as well as incorporating the use of electro-acoustic sound using controllers, virtual instruments and sampled sound. Her commissioned work, Mall Walking with Brahms, was recently played by an Astral Artists Trio as part of a concert featuring young woman composers mentored by Dr. Fishman-Johnson. She was invited to be a guest composer at the New Music Festival 2003 at Western Illinois University where the Camerata Woodwind Quintet performed her woodwind quintet, Sylla-bols. In 2001, she produced her first Internet movie, After Montale, and was composer-in-residence at the West Philadelphia Community Center where her commissioned work, Dream Catchers in West Philly for percussion with electronic controllers was performed.
Ms. Fishman-Johnson met celebrated poet, Michael Heller at
the Yaddo Artist Colony in 1989. They have worked on a number of collaborations
including Benjamin, a multimedia opera, which was presented for four performances
at the 2000 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and Heteroglossia, which was chosen
for concert performance at the 1991 International Computer Music Conference
in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She was a fellowship recipient from the Pennsylvania
Council on the Arts in 1996.
She currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. She conducts the Upper School ensembles, and teaches Music of Many Cultures at Springside School, a college preparatory school in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.