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Ellen Powell

Adjunct Lecturer of Music

Adjunct bass teacher and jazz bassist, Ellen enjoys her opportunity to teach bass at SUNY Plattsburgh. Piano was her first instrument. She has taught bass and piano since the mid-1980s in her home. She also was the bass teacher in the Burlington After School String program for thirteen years, a piano teacher at the Monteverdi Music School in Montpelier, Vt. for 5 years, a bass teacher at Burlington College for a year, and taught bass lessons in the late 80s at SUNY Plattsburgh for a couple of years, when Marshall Onofrio was the head of the Music Department. She loves teaching. She is always learning something about music from her students, something that gives her no end of pleasure.

Some performance highlights include playing in all of the Discover Jazz Festivals since its beginning, in Burlington, Vt., where she lives. In some of the Discover Jazz Festivals she opened for Dorothy Donegan, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Geri Allen, and her group was featured with jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan. Her group went on a New England tour with Jordan and together with Jordan, was featured on NPR’s “Jazz Set.” Ellen performed in the Bright Moments jazz festival in Amherst, Mass., and toured New England with Sister Song, an all-woman jazz group made up of some of the best players from the Boston area, including drummer Claire Arenius, and pianist Yasko Kubota. Ellen, in a duo with guitarist Jerry Lavene, went on a tour produced by the New England Foundation for the Arts called “Two for the Road” where they shared the stage with another duo featuring bassist Avery Sharpe and jazz violinist John Blake.

Ellen has written pieces for small jazz ensembles. She composed the music for the songs in an hilarious musical entitled “Beat the Heat,” about global warming written by playwright and puppeteer Wes Sanders, one of the founders of the Underground Railway Theater. She also arranged the music for another musical entitled Passing Fancy by Amy Rubin.

Powell was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts study grant that she used to study with master jazz bassist Cecil McBee. She received a grant based on the strength of submitted compositions to the Vt. Council on the Arts (VCA) and was artist on VCA Touring Register. She also “sat on the other side of the table” when she was on a panel of judges for applications for music grants for the Vermont Council on the Arts. Hear Ellen play: www.vpr.net/episode/44955/

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