Bassoonist Monica Ellis is a founding member of the GRAMMY-nominated wind quintet Imani Winds, for which she serves as administrative director and tour manager, and co-artistic director for the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival.
Ms. Ellis received her Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, studying with George Sakakeeny. While at Oberlin she participated in the Panama Project: a month-long camp for young Panamanian students. She received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School and her Professional Studies certificate from Manhattan School of Music in the orchestral performance program, studying with Frank Morelli at both institutions.
Recording credits include eight albums with Imani Winds for Bright Shiny Things, Koch International Classics, EOne, and EMI Classics. She also appears on Edward Simon’s Sorrows and Triumphs, Chick Corea’s The Continents, the Wayne Shorter Quartet’s Without a Net, Mohammed Fairouz’s Native Informant, Jeff Scott’s Urban Classical Music Project, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet’s Classified, Steve Coleman’s Ascension to Light, and Perspectives Ensemble’s Montsalvatge Mardrigal.
For over 20 years, Ms. Ellis has enjoyed an active freelance career, performing with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Absolute Ensemble, Bard Music Festival, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Perspectives Ensemble, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, among others. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Ellis is a frequent commentator on discussions dealing with critical issues of race, gender and entrepreneurship in classical music and serves on the advisory boards for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s education committee and the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition and Bassoon Symposium. She also serves on the IDRS Commissioning Sub-Committee and is a board member of Concert Artists Guild.
Ms. Ellis joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2021. She also serves on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music, and has been a visiting professor or on faculty at the University of Chicago, the Hartt School, the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, Brooklyn College’s Conservatory of Music, Mannes School of Music, and the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. A renowned clinician, she has given master classes and solo recital performances across the country.