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Ellen Mandel: Bio

MOPAT MUSIC            311 East 9 Street              New York, NY 1OOO3

ph 212-26O-5397


Ellen Mandel


         Ellen Mandel, composer, has written many art songs to texts by E.E. Cummings, Seamus Heaney, WB Yeats, Thomas Hardy, Charlotte Mew, and others.  Mandel’s art songs have been performed in concert at venues including the Tribeca New Music Festival, St Mark’s Church on the Bowery, Klavierhaus, and the Century Center, all in New York City, the Sirena Poetry Festival in Pennsylvania, the In-Series in Washington DC, the Florio Street Concerts in California, the Peterborough Players in New Hampshire, the New Gallery Concert Series in Boston, in concerts from Mississippi to Ohio to Maine, in Ireland at the Kilkenny Arts Festival, and in concerts in Scotland, England, and Germany.


Ms. Mandel has also created music for over seventy plays:  Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s Medea (NYIT nominee Best Music/Sound design), Don Juan in Hell (NYITA Best Revival), The Gambler and Agamemnon Home, New Yiddish Rep’s Death of a Salesman (Drama Desk nom Best Revival 2016), also Antaeus (Scenie Award: music for Top Girls), Peterborough Players (nominee Best Music and Best Musical Director) Jean Cocteau Rep Resident Composer, Mint, Arkansas Rep, Asolo.  She has created music and lyrics for six shows for children:  The Toymaker’s Apprentice, The Three Pigs, Aesop’s Fables, Puss in Boots, Little Red, Rumplestiltskin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and Cindy Reilly (Cinderella). She has composed scores for five indie films, and for dance and cabaret, as well as on the spot for improv comedy.


            Ms Mandel has released six CDs:  a wind has blown the rain away (E.E. Cummings songs), and the first of all my dreams (E.E. Cummings, Seamus Heaney, WB Yeats, and other songs), Every Play's an Opera (theatre music); The Cat and the Moon, (settings of Heaney, Yeats, Thomas Hardy, and Daniel Neer), and There Was a World (Seamus Heaney and Glyn Maxwell settings), and I So Liked Spring (Charlotte Mew, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare and Yeats settings). Dizzy Gillespie called her a “wonderful musician.”


Reviews of Mandel’s art songs:

"A striking collaboration!  the playful poetry of e.e. cummings set to music by New York composer Ellen Mandel… I wish I could give this CD to every poetry lover I know!" 

All Things Considered, National Public Radio.


 “Mandel’s settings of poems by E. E. Cummings were ardent and spiky…refreshingly organic.” New York Times


“Mandel's jazz background is evident, yet these are true art songs.… Mandel marries the music to the texts seamlessly, like Schubert, Fauré, and Ned Rorem, for whom writing songs seems to come naturally…The CD blew me away at first hearing and continues to do so numerous listenings later!  Get yourself a copy ASAP if you are a fan of great song.”


This composer’s music for the Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater has been remarkable for consistent invention, compositional resource, and apt theatricality.  So attention should be paid as she branches out now with musical settings e.e. cummings poems.” Village Voice