Born in Sheffield (1995), Ellen Sargen is a British composer and flautist currently living in Manchester.
Predominantly working in collaborative partnerships, Ellen enjoys working with performers and creatives for their distinctness in cultural tradition, creative discipline or performance practice. Ellen seeks to build her music from the shared language she develops while working with her collaborator, and projects have included those with Shu Jiang (guzheng player) and Louisa Chambers (where Ellen’s process extended to working with a visual artist). Currently, Ellen works with the distinct performance behaviour of musicians to find new territory within her compositions.
Ellen’s work often brings together unusual combinations of instruments to create new ensembles and sounds, and her music has been performed by members of the Ligeti Quartet, Ensemble 360, NotaBene Ensemble, Tom Poster’s Kaleidoscope Collective and by performers including Sarah Watts, Simon Twigge, Jonathan Ayerst, Chris Pidcock and Zi Lan Liao among others across the UK and in Europe.
Ellen’s trio for horn, double bass and piano was commissioned by Music in the Round for their Chamber Festival in 2018 and a new work for soprano, contrabass clarinet and prepared percussion was commissioned for International Women’s Day through Classical Sheffield in 2019. Her music has been programmed in Lost and Sound’s ‘pop-up’ series in Sydney, Australia, in the University of Sheffield’s ‘forged in Sheffield’ and ‘sound laboratory’ series’ and also at Darmstadt International Music Festival, Leeds Lieder Festival, Cheltenham Music Festival and Landesmusikakademie Ochsenhausen in student concerts.
Returning to Sheffield in 2014, Ellen studied with Dorothy Ker and George Nicholson, completing her BMus in Music with a high first and MA in Composition with distinction. She received the Gibbons Prize, the Mrs Stewart Blake BMus Prize and the Phillip John Lord Prize during this time. Outside of the UK she has studied with Lucas Fels, Younghi Pagh Paan, Ofer Ben-Amots and Jan Jiracek. She has also won third prize in the Josef Dorfman International Composition Competition. Currently, Ellen is studying for her PhD at the Royal Northern College of Music with Larry Goves, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her academic studies and creative practice have previously been funded through the University of Sheffield Postgraduate Awards, a Julian Payne Scholarship and a Petrie Watson Exhibition Prize.