composer and sound artist

“Stunning... with Ellen Reid's incandescent ‘p r i s m,’
an opera composer is born.”

— LA Times (Mark Swed)

“a riveting new opera”

— I Care If You Listen (Catherine Womack)

“a fine line between poetic abstraction and gut-wrenching reality.”

— San Francisco Classical Voice (Jim Farber)


p r i s m   at LA Opera and PROTOTYPE

music by ellen reid
libretto by roxie perkins
directed by james darrah
conducted by julian wachner
produced by beth morrison projects

Dreams of the New World

World Premiere
Sunday, MAY 13, 2018 7:00 PM

at Walt Disney Concert Hall

libretto by Sarah LaBrie
lead research/dramaturgy by Sayd Randle
conducted by Grant Gershon
featuring LA Master Chorale and wild Up

Ellen Reid is a composer and sound artist whose work “brims with canny invention” (LA Weekly). Reid’s work is largely collaborative and takes the form of opera, chamber music, electronic pop songs, scores for film and theater and immersive interactive media. Reid’s work has been hailed as “ineffably moving” by Mark Swed of the LA Times, “radiant” by Alex Ross of the New Yorker, and it’s been said that her vocal writing would “make you believe that the mythical sirens really existed” (KCRW). Upcoming and recent projects include a 45-minute commission for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, an orchestral work for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, p r i s m with LA Opera and Beth Morrison Projects, two commissions from the LA Philharmonic in one season, music for Buster’s Mal Heart – starring Rami Malek – at the Toronto International Film Festival, and a sound installation for HBO. Reid was listed as one of Music America’s 30 Professionals of the Year in 2016 for her work with Luna Composition Lab, a mentorship program for young self-identified female, non-binary, and gender non-conforming composers she co-founded with Missy Mazzoli. Reid received her BFA from Columbia University and her MA from California Institute of the Arts. She splits her time between her two favorite cities – Los Angeles and New York.



I grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee – a small town in East Tennessee that was created as part of the Manhattan Project. I never dreamt that writing music could be a viable career path, but I started composing my sophomore year of college and haven’t stopped since. As a kid, I casually sang in choir, played piano and percussion. As an undergrad at Columbia University I was exposed to the kaleidoscopic sound world that is New York City. Within weeks I saw an installation of amplified lightbulbs at The Stone, a concert of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Carnegie Hall that gave me synethsesia and heard my first Indian Raga. These experiences expanded my understanding of what music could be, and created an insatiable love of sound that has taken me all over the globe.

In Thailand, I lived and collaborated with Thai artists for several years. We created pieces for the United Nations and the Patravadi Theater. My site-specific installation Lonely Traveler was featured in the 2011 Ruhrtriennale in Essen Germany, and She Gone Rogue (dir Rhys Ernst and Zackary Drucker) was featured in the 2012 Hammer Biennial (LA) and 2014 Whitney Biennial. I traveled with members of wild Up and Jodie Landau to Reykjavik, Iceland to create You of All Things with the Bedroom Community.

I was a composer on HOPSCOTCH with director and MacArthur fellow Yuval Sharon. My work for HOPSCOTCH was hailed as “ineffably moving” by Mark Swed of the LA Times and “radiant” by Alex Ross of the New Yorker. Fear | Release was commissioned and recorded by the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet on Sono Luminus and made NPR's top 10 classical music albums of 2016.

I've been an Artist in Residence at National Sawdust, University of California Irvine, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Opera Omaha.


Press Contact

Sarah Baird Knight, Calliope PR

Ellen Reid at work