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Monica Ellis

About this Artist

Bassoonist Monica Ellis is a founding member of the twice Grammy-nominated wind quintet Imani Winds, that for over a quarter century has dazzled audiences around the world with its dynamic playing, adventurous programming, and commitment to new works and collaborations. In 2022, Imani Winds was Grammy-nominated for its ninth studio recording entitled Bruits. 

As the daughter of a jazz saxophonist father and fashionista mother, she was raised in a house full of go-getters. A natural organizer, Monica is the co-artistic and executive director for Imani Winds and its annual chamber music festival and treasurer for its non-profit foundation.  

Influential teachers include Mark Pancerev, of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the city where she was raised; George Sakakeeny at Oberlin College Conservatory (BM); and Frank Morelli at the Juilliard School (MM) and Manhattan School of Music (PS). 

She has performed and recorded with dozens of world-renowned artists and organizations spanning genres and styles, from the likes of Wayne Shorter to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. As a celebrated educator, Monica has given masterclasses and solo performances across the country and is on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music and Curtis Institute of Music. 

Monica is a frequent commentator on critical discussions regarding race, gender, and entrepreneurship in classical music. She is on the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Educational Advisory Committee and is a board member for Concert Artists Guild and the International Double Reed Society (IDRS). 

Monica religiously watches Jeopardy!, loves home decorating, and resides in the historic village of Harlem in New York City with the greatest joy of her life: her 8-and-¾-year-old son, Oden.