Author Archives: Ellen McSweeney

About Ellen McSweeney

Ellen McSweeney is a Chicago-based musician and writer. She is the founding violinist of Chicago Q Ensemble, a string quartet dedicated to new music, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovative programming. As a chamber musician, Ellen has also been heard with ensemble dal niente, Access Contemporary Music, Singers on New Ground, New Millennium Orchestra, and New Music DePaul, among others. Ellen holds a B.M. from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and an M.M. from DePaul University. She is a winner of Vanderbilt's Merrill Moore Award for Poetry Writing and the Vanderbilt Review prize for Best Fiction. Her indie folk duo, Elk, will release their debut EP this winter.

Chicago: A scavenger hunt of world premieres

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It was Open House Chicago this weekend. Open House is, apparently, a worldwide celebratory architectural free-for-all phenomenon that started in London. But I’ve only ever experienced it in Chicago. Here, it usually falls in late October, when each rainstorm is a tender rite of passage that strips the city of a bit more color.

Chicago: The Unbearable Intimacy of Wandelweiser

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I asked my friend and colleague Andrew Tham to join me in attempting to create a new kind of concert review: one that embraced, rather than attempted to deny, our subjectivity; one that could be a bit rough around the edges.  What follows is the story of our experience of the Chicago Wandelweiser Festival.

Chicago: Hiking the Song Path, hearing music everywhere

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For composer and sound artist Ryan Ingebritsen, Song Path is a practice that explores guided meditation and hiking as a compositional form. Ellen McSweeney caught up with him to chat about what it means for a primarily electronic artist to lead troupes of people through the woods.

Chicago: The ancient future-music of Sam Scranton

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Sam Scranton’s Detritivore is an evening-length ensemble work that is both theatrical and restrained, simultaneously epic and intimate, and was so absorbing that I could not write about it without participating in the reverberations of the piece itself.