Mary Ellen Childs

Mary Ellen Childs

Mary Ellen Childs

Mary Ellen Childs is a composer known for creating both rhythmic, exuberant instrumental music and bold, kinetic compositions that integrate theater, dance and music in fresh and unexpected ways. She writes for a variety of ensembles, including vocal ensembles, solo accordion, string quartets, and chamber groups of every ilk. She is interested in creating distinctive sound worlds, and often writes for specific architecture or environments. Stone Steel Wood Glass Light, commissioned for the Chicago Architectural Biennial, drew inspiration from the Farnsworth House, a glass house designed by Mies van der Rohe, where it was premiered to a series of small audiences. Her other full-length works include Dream House for string quartet (written for ETHEL) based on themes of destruction and construction, and accompanied by multi-image video of construction sites; and Wreck, created for dance (Black Label Movement Company), for which she won a Sage Award. Over the last thirty years she has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a United States Artist Friends Fellowship, Bush Foundation Fellowships, McKnight Foundation Fellowships, and a fellowship in support of her interdisciplinary work from Intermedia Arts. She has received commissions and support from Opera America, the Kronos Quartet, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Kitchen, the Walker Art Center, Other Minds, the MAP Fund, and Creative Capital’s Exploration Fund. Childs has held residencies at the Bellagio Center in Italy, Bogliasco Foundation, Yaddo, and the Emily Harvey Foundation (Venice, Italy), and through the Arctic Circle Expedition in Svalbard.

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