Laura Ellis is pleased to announce her new CD produced by the Raven label: "Music for the Testaments Old and New". This 2-CD set offers contemporary interpretations of scripture written by composers active in the United States from the mid-twentieth century to the current day. Tracks from this CD have been featured on "Pipedreams", a nationally broadcast public radio program (her recording of "A Prophecy" by Daniel Pinkham was broadcast on the Sept 27, 2018 program and "Incarnation Suite" of Joel Martinson was aired on December 23, 2019).
Dr. Ellis has been on the faculty in the School of Music since 2003. She teaches undergraduate and graduate organ, harpsichord, and carillon. In addition to applied lessons, Ellis teaches courses in the Sacred Music area. Ellis is a graduate of Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) and holds a Master of Music degree in church music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the University of Kansas. Her major organ teachers have been James Higdon and William Kuhlman. While in residence at the University of Kansas, she studied carillon with Albert Gerken.
Prior to her Florida appointment, Ellis served as professor of music at McMurry University and held the position of parish organist at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, TX. Ellis began her teaching career at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas.
Ellis was invited to discuss the music of her carillon mentor at the 2012 Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. The presentation entitled "Bert Gerken: His Arrangements and Original Compositions for Carillon." In June 2010 Ellis performed a solo carillon recital for the 2010 Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA) at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. During this same congress, Ellis passed her advancement examination recital on The Millennium Carillon in Naperville, Illinois, and is now a carillonneur member of the GCNA.
Ellis presented a solo organ recital at the Region IV Mid-winter conference of the American Guild of Organists in January 2010. In this recital she premiered, "Praise," a composition by University of Florida composition faculty member Paul Richards based on Psalm 150:3-5.
Recital engagements as organist have included appearances with the Jacksonville (FL) Symphony, Piccolo Spoleto (Charleston, SC), Westminster Abbey, and various locations throughout Florida, Texas, and the South. In addition to her performances on the carillon in Century Tower on the University of Florida campus, Ellis has performed solo carillon recitals throughout the United States and Canada. Recent appearances include recitals at International Carillon Festival in Springfield, Illinois; Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; the University of Rochester (NY); Alfred University (NY); and the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Spokane, Washington.
In October 2007 Ellis traveled to Australia for a series of five recitals, including a solo organ recital on the Great Hall Organ at the University of Sydney. She also performed solo carillon recitals at the University of Sydney and at the National Carillon in the capital city of Canberra.
Active in the American Guild of Organists (AGO), Ellis was elected to three terms as Regional Councillor for the Southeast. She currently serves as director of the Music and Publications Committee for the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA).
A former winner of the Gruenstein Memorial Organ Competition, Ellis is active as a recitalist and clinician. Her CD entitled “Legacy: Laura Ellis Plays the Organ Works of Jeanne Demessieux,” was released under the Pro Organo label.