Photo by Bill Frakes.

Photo by Bill Frakes.

New Media Composer, Ellen Fishman creates multimedia performance for audiences who crave new experience at the intersection of art, music and technology.  Her interactive works are designed to engage the audience in ways that invites choice.  Recent projects include Remix Interactive, a work for live orchestra, playback and an interactive iOS light show in partnership with the Drexel University ExCITe Center and Mural in Motion, a soundscape and digital mural that was projected on to the side of the Fabric Workshop Building as part of collaboration with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. She was awarded a 2017 Opera America Grant for Female Composers for the development of Marie Begins, an interactive opera and is composing a 360 degree immersive piece in collaboration with pianist, Marilyn Nonken as the result of a grant from the American Composers Forum.

She has worked with choreographers, artists and poets to create new performance experiences that go beyond the concert hall.   She collaborated with choreographer and former Martha Graham dancer, Jeanne Ruddy, between 2007-2012.  Her score for “Lark” was described by Merilyn Jackson for “The Philadelphia Inquirer” as “a sprightly, complex 21st-century score whose swirling arpeggios harmonized well with the choreography.”  As part of her work with Ms. Ruddy, she created animations of paintings by renowned painter, Elizabeth Osborne which interacted with the choreography and served as the backdrop in performances at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Suzanne Roberts Theater in Philadelphia. 

Ellen has collaborated with poet, Michael Heller since they met at the Yaddo Artist colony over 20 years ago.  Their multimedia work, This Art Burning, a staged performance featuring new explorations in setting poetry through video, spoken work, musical accompaniment, opera and song premiered at the 2011 Philly Fringe Festival.  David Patrick Stearns of “The Philadelphia Inquirer” wrote that the experience “left you wanting lots more.”  Her earlier training included the study of piano, clarinet and saxophone, with emphasis on jazz improvisation.   She studied music composition at San Francisco State University, University of California, Berkeley, the Peabody Conservatory, and at the Conservatoire Americain de Fontainebleau. 

Her music is greatly influenced by the French composer, Gérard Grisey whom she studied with at UC Berkeley. Dr. Fishman-Johnson is an Apple Distinguished Educator and is the Director of the Arts and New Media at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy where she founded the ViDCAST Studio for video, broadcasting and music production.  She has presented nationally on technological approaches to teaching music composition and creating multimedia projects.

She is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. 


Best of all was a haunting violin solo that might’ve been written by Ernest Bloch or Sergei Prokofiev but was authentically Fishman-Johnson’s and left you wanting lots more.
— David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer