Born and raised in Illinois, composer-musician Ellen Harrison holds a doctorate in composition from the University of California, Berkeley, an artist’s diploma from the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Illinoi. She has produced a corpus of works for all manner of instrumental and vocal ensembles. Her music has been performed in both the United States and Europe, and has received numerous honors and awards. You can learn more about Harrison at her web site, EllenRuthHarrison.com
Evocative language and evocative sounds have been an inspiration for her music throughout her entire career. In Seven Devilish Pieces, manifold musical ideas sprang from a linguistic pun in French: “this (cette) devilish piece” became “seven (sept) devilish pieces,” in a process of infernal multiplication. Multiple, too, are the textures and gestures of these seven movements, which run the gamut from the icy calm of “Put Those Devils to Rest” to the frenzy of the finale, “Hot Times,” which bears the Shakespearean epigraph: “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” Almost all of her scores have similarly memorable, though not always comic, underpinnings.