Joan Ellison has been praised for her “vocal prowess....[and] organic grasp of the classic songs” by Michael Feinstein. She has made a specialty of reviving Judy Garland’s repertoire from the Hollywood years to her Carnegie Hall concert and television show, restoring Ms. Garland’s glorious orchestrations from the original sources. Ellison’s 2016 New York City solo cabaret debut prompted Cabaret Scenes Magazine to describe her as “Judy-esque in appearance and…a near voice double for her idol.” 

Her intimate understanding of retro musical styles comes from transcribing over 250 piano and vocal arrangements note-for-note from original recordings, bringing distinct freshness and authenticity to her interpretations of classic American standards. At Michael Feinstein’s invitation, she serves as editor of the Judy Garland Carnegie Hall Concert Restoration Project for the Judy Garland Heirs Trust. 


  • MMT and BM in voice performance, Oberlin College; studied with Daune Mahy
  • Further studies in popular vocal styles with Leon Thurman
  • Piano study with Robert McDonald and Sharyl Smith

Teaching Experience

  • Cleveland Institute of Music
  • CWRU/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program
  • Oberlin Conservatory
  • Baldwin Wallace Conservatory