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). Her long-time immersion in the popular vocal styles of the 1920s to the 1960s includes transcribing over 250 piano and vocal arrangements note-for-note from classic recordings and copying/restoring missing pieces on several of Judy Garland's original orchestrations. This intimate understanding of vintage musical and vocal styles brings distinct freshness and authenticity to her interpretations of classic American standards.
- MMT and BM in voice performance, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music (with Daune Mahy)
- Further studies in popular vocal styles with Leon Thurman
- Piano study with Robert McDonald and Sharyl Smith
- Cleveland Institute of Music
- CWRU/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program
- Oberlin Conservatory
- Baldwin Wallace Conservatory