M.M. University of Missouri – Kansas City; B.M. Missouri Western University
Pianist Ellen Sommer has quickly established a reputation as a much sought-after collaborative pianist, chamber musician, and vocal coach. She performs extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Central and South America, and Europe. Most recent engagements have included concerts and master classes at the University of Costa Rica, performances at the International Double Reed convention in Birmingham, England, and a lecture recital with violinist Tami L. Hughes at the IUTGE workshop in Leibniz, Austria.
Sommer often serves as a pianist for regional, national and international competitions and festivals, as well as recital series and radio broadcasts. Additionally, she coaches and performs at the Sound Encounters Suzuki Strings camp and the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program in Ottawa, KS.
She is a founding member of Allegresse, an inspiring new trio for flute, oboe, and piano. Recently Allegresse was invited to present recitals and master classes and to adjudicate at the nationally known new music festival, FENAM in Sacramento, California. January 2012 Allegresse traveled to Puerto Rico giving performances and master classes in San Juan.
Ms. Sommer has collaborated on several professional recordings, including four under the auspices of Potenza Records. Most recently, Sommer collaborated with clarinetist Stephanie Zelnick on the recording, Diaspora: Music of Jewish Composers, and the recent Albany release, Legacy: Music for Violin and Piano by African-American Composers with violinist Tami L. Hughes. In addition to recording, Ellen performed the music of American composer, Bryan Kip Haaheim for the Showtime movie, Fall From Grace.
From 1994-2004 Sommer was on the keyboard and voice faculty at Missouri Western University, where her students received high honors in state and regional competitions. Currently Sommer is a Lecturer in Piano at the University of Kansas, School of Music. She performs regularly with several members of the KU music faculty, visiting artist recitals, and graduate students on recitals and concert tours. In addition, Sommer serves as administrator for the piano accompanying and chamber music programs at KU.
A graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Missouri Western University, Sommer has studied with Richard Cass, Jerry L. Anderson, Pia Sebastiani, Rita Sloan, and Robert Koenig.