Pianist Ellen R. Sommer is a sought-after collaborative pianist, chamber musician, and coach. Her reputation for excellence has led to extensive engagements throughout the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia. Recent performances include a chamber music recital at the Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture in Malibu, California with Maria Newman, Scott Hosfeld and instrumentalists from the Metropolitan Opera orchestra; and a series of concerts and masterclasses in San Jose, Costa Rica at the Universidad de Costa Rica and Casa de la musica in Quito, Ecuador.
Ellen can be heard on numerous professional recordings, including five under the auspices of Potenza Music and Albany Records. Her performances of Ingrid Stölzel’s compositions were recently released on Parma Records’ The Gorgeous Nothings. Recently Ellen recorded with saxophonist, Nick May, performing compositions of the late David Maslanka. This recording will released by Albany at a later date.
Ellen is a founding member of Allégresse, a trio that champions fresh, inspiring repertoire, both established and contemporary, for flute, oboe, and piano. Recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces: Chamber Music Grant, the trio has performed throughout the United States and the globe. Allégresse recently premiered Bonnie McLarty’s, Still Life with poetry by Caryn Miriam-Goldberg, and Stölzel’s,The Gorgeous Nothings based on Emily Dickinson’s writings. Both works were commissions for the trio and soprano, Sarah Anderson. They will release their third album spring 2019.
Ellen is in high demand as a pianist for regional, national, and international conferences, competitions, and festivals, including MTNA, NATS, IDRS, and ICA and for concert series and radio broadcasts such as the Dame Myra Hess recital series in Chicago. She frequently performs live on Kansas Public Radio.
Ellen is Lecturer in Piano at the University of Kansas School of Music, where she regularly performs with faculty, visiting artists, and students. From 1994-2003, she taught piano and voice at Missouri Western State University. Ellen serves on faculty as a coach and collaborative pianist at the Omaha Conservatory of Music Institute, Brian Lewis Young Artist Program, Sound Encounters Suzuki String Camp, Midwestern Music Camp, and Interlochen Arts summer camps. In 2016 Ellen was named one of three Distinguished Alumni from Missouri Western State University.