Joan Ellison has been praised for her “vocal prowess.... [and] organic grasp of the classic songs” by Michael Feinstein, and described as bringing “a keen blend of vocal splendor and verbal crispness to every musical moment” and “possess[ing] a crystalline voice that never stops” (Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer). 

In July 2015, Ellison released a new album, Retrophonic Gershwin, featuring a dozen songs from her show, Gershwin On the Air. Along with an ensemble of two singers and duo-pianists, the album is mixed by Grammy award-winning engineer Robert Friedrich.  Upcoming performances include Get Happy! Judy Garland in Hollywood with the Wheaton Symphony, the premiere of the re-written Love Finds Judy Garland, four summer concerts with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra with conductors Carl Topilow and Jason Seber and a return to the Lakeside Symphony as the soloist in “Music of World War II.” Winter 2016 will find her playing the role of Judy Garland in The Boy from Oz, at TheatreZone in Naples, Florida, and performing her three-person theatre piece, Love Finds Judy Garland on their season.

Last season, Ellison sang her Garlandconcert with the Lakeside Symphony, and also performed with the Cleveland Women's Orchestra celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz film release.  For the past several years, she has been touring with the theatrical concerts Love Finds Judy Garland and Gershwin On the Air, for which she also arranged the music.

Recent past symphonic appearances have included the Cleveland Pops Orchestra’s “Songwriting Giants of Broadway” concert with Carl Topilow; “Judy Garland” with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic under Eric Benjamin; “The Music of Richard Rodgers” with the Erie Philharmonic; and a return engagement with the Erie Philharmonic and maestro Daniel Meyer for their Holiday Pops concerts.  In 2005 she made her Severance Hall debut with the Cleveland Pops opposite Broadway baritone William Michals and has since sung more than a dozen times with the ensemble in repertoire ranging from The King and I to Wicked.  Theatrical roles include Julie in Carousel, Nellie in South Pacific, Lizzie in 110 in the Shade, Eliza in My Fair Lady (in concert) and Claudia in Nine; she is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Ellison earned MMT and BMus (voice performance) degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Daune Mahy. Further studies in popular vocal styles were with Leon Thurman, and piano study with Robert McDonald and Sharyl Smith.  In addition to her work at CIM, Ellison is the Singing Teacher for the CWRU/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program. Her graduates have performed principal and ensemble roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in national and European/Asian touring companies, in film and television and with regional theatres across the country and in the U.K., and can be heard on solo albums in pop, rock, folk and country genres, as well as Broadway original cast albums.  Past teaching appointments include the Oberlin and Baldwin Wallace Conservatories.  www.joanellison.com



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