Singing melody, a propulsive, yet mercurial sense of rhythm, large-scale harmonic control, and above all a keen dramatic bent characterise Michael Ellison’s work, which seamlessly integrates traditional (especially Turkish and Western) and contemporary sensibilities. Ellison’s first opera, Mevlana, Say I am You (Rotterdam Operadagen and Istanbul Music Festivals, 2012) broke new ground for contemporary music, achieving an unprecedented level of integration of Turkish traditional instruments—a direction his second opera, Deniz Küstü (The Sea-Crossed Fisherman) Istanbul Music Festival, 2016, Jones/Tanbay/NOHlab) extends. Ellison has been commissioned by the BBC Symphony,Festival Acht Brücken, Grenoble Festival, Radio France, Berlin Saxophone Quartet, New York Youth Symphony, and New Music Southwest (UK), amongst many others. Ellison is Principal Investigator on the five-year, Bristol-based European Research Council project Beyond East and West: Developing and Documenting an Evolving Transcultural Musical Practice, and is co-director of Hezarfen Ensemble.

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