Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Christi, Ellen (Ellen Christerson)

Christi, Ellen [Ellen Christerson], vocalist; b. Chicago, IL, 7 March 1958. Her father's name was James B. Christerson, born March 25,1920 in Chicago, IL, died March 10,1976. Her mother's Name was Marie M. Christerson, born March 18,1923 in Chicago, IL, died September 18th, 1991. Neither one was a musician.

In Chicago, she studied piano theory and technique with Jack Hubal (1973-75). In New York, she studied with Jacki Byard for four years, theory, arrangement, and piano technique (1976-80). As a composer/vocalist, Christi has worked in varying performance venues ranging from multi-media theatrical productions to solo vocal concerts. She has also been an active advocate in supporting innovative performing artists through organizations that she has co-founded or directed.

Christi has studied piano technique, composition, and arranging with Jaki Byard, an internationally acclaimed pianist/composer and a professor at the New England Conservatory of Music. She had studied the bel canto technique with Galli Campi, a coloratura singer with the Metropolitan Opera. Earlier on in her career, she studied vocal technique and movement with Jeanne Lee, an avant-garde jazz vocalist. Presently, Christi is working with vocal coach, Dr. Virgina Davidson, composer/conductor and founder of New York Treble Singers.

Christi was one of the co-founders of New York City Artists' Collective, a non-profit organization committed to developing creative independence for artist and fostering appreciation of visual and performing arts through educational seminars, concert productions, and record documentation/ production (N.Y.C.A.C. Records) She is also the founder of Network Records, an independent record label promoting contemporary jazz music. She has received numerous grants and commissions from the New York State Council of the Arts and Meet the Composer. As well as having received varied commissions for dance and theater performances throughout the years, her most recent commission has been funded through the prestigious Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. She is currently performing and teaching master classes in vocal technique/improvisation and movement throughout the United States and Europe. Christi has been performing and recording with musicians in the United States and Europe for the past twenty-five years. She has worked with; Tom Bruno, Ray Anderson, Mark Dresser, Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, Rashid Ali, Tony Scott, Ed Blackwell, William Parker, Lisa Sokolov, Jeanne Lee, Kenny Wheeler, Steve McCall, Rahn Burton, Roy Campbell, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, and Hans Koch.

For the past twelve years, she has been collaborating with Fiorenzo Sordini, Claudio Lodati, Carlo Actis Dato, and Enrico Fazio in Italy. In Switzerland, she has been performing and recording with Thomi Hirt and Pit Gutmann of the trio, Illustrio. Currently she is working with Joe Gallant's Illuminati, a 22-piece ensemble, performing and producing concerts with her present performing ensemble, Aliens' Talk. She is developing a world music project with Vincent Nguini of Cameroon. And the most recent recording project is with bassist, Habib Faye and balafonist, Babacar Konate of Senegal. A great portion of her time is spent working as a producer for Bliss Corporation, a dance music production company in Torino, Italy.

Sounds of Life with Tom and Ellen (1976); The New York City Artists' Collective: Plays Butch Morris (1982); Live at Irving Plaza (1984); Star of Destiny (1987); Art Studio: Senza Parole  (1989); Claudio Lodati: Dreamers (1990); Fiorenzo Sordini: Piece of the Rock (1992); Illustrio: Better World (1992); Song Cycle (1992); Instant Reality (1995); Claudio Lodati: Vocal Desires (1996); Reconstruction of Sound (1996); Blues for Allah (1996); Aliens' Talk (1998); Terrapain Station (1999); A Deeper Season Than Reason (2001); Deep Beats (2001)

Radio and television broadcasts:
WBAI, WBGO, WNYC, WKCR, New York; Radio Vienna, Austria; WNUR,WBEZ, Chicago; RAI/Uno & Due,Rome, Italy; WFMT, Boston; Suisse Radio/TV, Zurich, Switzerland; National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.; WDR, Cologne, Germany; WSFM, San Francisco; Radio Espana, Barcelona, Spain; WJMT, Charlottesville, VA; Sonatel TV, Dakar, Senegal; National German Television, Germany

Women in Jazz, documentary of jazz women musicians (Sound track included); Winds of the City, documentary of Chicago (Sound track included); Rising Tones Cross, documentary on New York avant-garde jazz in the 1980's

Roger Riggins: Ellen Christi. Star of Destiny, in: Coda, #224 (Feb/Mar.1989)
Pepsch Muska: Ellen Christi. Das Instrument Stimme, in: Jazz Live, #105 (1994)
Spin Magazine
Jazz Oggi
CDeMUSIC Ellen Christi
Excite Music William Parker

Mary Flager Cary Charitable Award
Meet the Composer

Contact information:

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