BM, Radford University
MM, The Hartt School, University of Hartford
AD, The Hartt School, University of Hartford
Lief Ellis has a diverse career that encompasses music composition, electronic performance, educator and administrator. His formal education is in music composition. He received a Bachelor of Music from Radford University and received a Master of Music, and an Artist's Diploma, from The Hartt School.
Lief Ellis's recent work as a composer involves the release of an album for classical guitar and electronics entitled Six Strings Reimagined. Past works include a commission from the Icelandic/American Amaranth Duo, an electro-acoustic collaboration with Ken Steen and the Foot in the Door ensemble and a collaboration on a multi-media work about the Connecticut River with his wife, composer Kathryn Swanson. His past compositions and collaborative projects have also included scoring music to Nina Watt's restaging of José Limón's dance The Winged, the creation of hybrid instruments and the transformation of commercial hardware into dynamic MAX/MSP-based musical interfaces, multiple performances of The Rings of Yggdrasill by the Hartt School Bass Ensemble (directed by Robert Black), a series of interactive installation pieces presented at the Hartford Art School with Ken Steen (composer), Bill Solomon (percussionist), and Rebecca McDonald (media artist), as well as collaborations with choreographer Katie Stevinson-Nollet, composer Alphonse Izzo, and composer Matt Sargent. He has a CD available on iTunes with works performed by guitarist Christopher Ladd. Lief was awarded the Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014, and Outstanding Staff Member award in 2022, from the University of Hartford. He is a charter member of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic, previous President of the Studio of Electronic Music Inc., and previous Director of the Hartford New Music Festival.
Lief Ellis currently holds the position of Director of Technology and Media Distribution at The Hartt School as well as holding an artist teacher position in the Dance department. He has taught independent study courses within the Composition and Music Production and Technology programs in the subjects of video game music and Arduino/midi-controller development.