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Monica Ellis performs with the wind quintet, Imani Winds. Ms. Ellis received her Bachelor's Degree in Bassoon Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory under the tutelage of George Sakakeeny, a Master's Degree at Juilard School, and attended the Orchestral Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music, studying with Frank Morelli at both institutions.
Residing in Harlem, Ms. Ellis is an active freelancer, having performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Absolute Ensemble, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony, the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, just to name a few. Ms. Ellis has served on the faculties of Mannes College of Music Preparatory Division, Brooklyn College School of Music, Juiliard's Music Advancement Program, and SUNY New Paltz College division.
More About Imani WindsMore than North America's premier wind quintet, Imani Winds has established itself as one of the most successful chamber music ensembles in the United States. Since 1997, the Grammy nominated quintet has taken a unique path, carving out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, genre-blurring collaborations, and inspirational outreach programs. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions.
Imani Winds' extensive touring schedule has brought them to most of this country's major concert venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Disney Hall and Kimmel Center. The group is frequently engaged by the premier chamber music series in Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Philadelphia and New York, and have also played virtually every major university performing arts series including those in Amherst, Ann Arbor, Austin, Seattle, Stanford, Urbana and countless others. Festivals include Chamber Music Northwest, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society, Virginia Arts Festival, Bravo! Colorado and Ravinia Festival.
Through commissions and performance the quintet regularly collaborates with artists ranging from Yo-Yo Ma to Wayne Shorter. Shorter's Terra Incognita - his first-ever composition for another ensemble - was premiered by Imani Winds. The group went on to perform extensively with Shorter at major European festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, and in North America at venues such as Carnegie and Disney halls. The group's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center residency culminated in a recital in New York's Alice Tully Hall with renowned clarinetist/saxophonist/composer Paquito D'Rivera. The ensemble has also worked with luminaries such as bandoneonist Daniel Binelli, the Brubeck brothers, clarinetist David Shifrin, and pianists Gilbert Kalish and Shai Wosner. Their ambitious project, "Josephine Baker: A Life of Le Jazz Hot!" brought chanteuse René Marie with them to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and St. Louis, receiving wide acclaim and glowing reviews.
Their excellence and influences have been recognized with numerous awards including the 2007 ASCAP Award, 2002 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, as well as the CMA/WQXR Award for their debut and self-released CD Umoja. At the 2001 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Imani Winds was selected as the first-ever Educational Residency Ensemble, in recognition of their tremendous musical abilities and innovative programming.