Elizabeth Joan Kelly is a New Orleans-based experimental electronic and classical music composer. She uses found sounds and MIDI to create lush soundscapes influenced by Zola Jesus, Nine Inch Nails, Portishead, Fever Ray, and The Knife. Elizabeth’s music explores the relationships between technology, industrialization, and consumerism, and their effect on society and our natural world.
Her newest album is Music for the DMV (after Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports, but more angsty…because no one likes the Department of Motor Vehicles). Music for the DMV won the Independent Music Award for “Best Concept Album” and was also nominated for Best Longform Video; received radio and podcast play from dozens of stations and shows across the world; featured on multiple “best of” lists in 2018; and spent 15 weeks on WTUL Radio’s Top New Album charts, including two weeks at #1. The song “Ghost in the Machine” was #15 on Dandelion Radio’s annual Festive 50 Countdown. The album has been reviewed by The Wire, Louder Than War, ANTIGRAVITY Magazine, and more, and she has recorded live sets for dublab radio and Phantom Circuit.
Elizabeth has received numerous composition awards for her concert music, including the Anthony “Val” Valentino Memorial Award from Loyola University New Orleans and the Donald Erb award from the Cleveland Institute of Music. String Quartet was winner of the 2007 Ohio Federation of Music Club’s Young Composers Contest, and also received the 2007 Russell and Nancy Hatz Special Recognition Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs. As 2nd place winner in the 2008 Singing City Prize for Young Composers, Elizabeth was commissioned to write a new piece for the ensemble. Another choral work, “Tiare Tahiti,” was a 2008 winner of the American Composer’s Forum/Vocal Essence Essentially Choral Reading Program, and was read by Vocal Essence in May 2008. “The Salt of Winter” was selected for inclusion in the Jacksonville Symphony’s Fresh Ink Orchestra Readings in June 2008. “Mornin’ Glory,” was performed at the inaugural concert of the Louisiana Composer’s Forum in September 2010 and subsequently nominated for a Big Easy Tribute to the Classical Arts Award.
Elizabeth’s music has been performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Vox Novus, Glass City Singers, members of So Percussion, and by students and young professionals across the United States and Europe.
She graduated summa cum laude in 2005 from Loyola University New Orleans with a B.M. in Music Composition, studying with Mara Gibson and James MacKay. Elizabeth also studied at the Freie Universitat in Berlin and the Bowdoin International Music Festival with Samuel Adler, and at the Norfolk New Music Workshop with Martin Bresnick. In 2007 she completed her M.M. as a student in composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Margaret Brouwer.
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