Leonard Ellis, composer, pianist, painter, poet, storyteller, filmmaker, designer
and scientist, is a graduate of California
Institute of the Arts.
While at Cal-Arts his spare time was spent designing lighting, sound
and sets for the Burbage Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles.
After graduation Leonard wrote and directed "The Frog Review",
a short theatrical play for children. It was performed at the Century City
Playhouse in 1974 where it enjoyed a brief but sold-out engagement. That
was the beginning of Leonard Ellis' multi-faceted career.
His works for adults include a multi-media montage, "Natural Dreams"
(1976), an acoustic/electronic sound environment, Ash Can Blues
(1976), and an award-winning animated film, Boobs A Lot (1974).
His theatrical designs have encompassed unique and special lighting effects,
settings and electronic sound compositions. They have graced productions
in the Los Angeles Area by the Burbage Theatre Ensemble, Mark Taper Forum
Laboratory, I.D.E.A. Dance Company, and the Bear Republic Theatre of Santa
From 1980 to 1992, Leonard worked with computers in the area of software
design at Interactive Systems Corporation in Santa Monica. One of his dreams is to eventually integrate computers with his multi-disciplinary art works.
Meanwhile, as a long-time dedicated folkdancer, Leonard became immersed
in the rhythms and melodies of many cultures. This folk influence, combined
with his early classical piano training, completely affected his music,
transforming his electronic music collages into "romantic, lyrical
and melodic" compositions.
Since 1984, he has released four recordings of his new age/classical/folk
melodies on his own label. His release Starlight Sonata has
received airplay both nationally and internationally. Additionally,
the Momix Dance Company of Vermont has choreographed one of Leonard's original
composition entitled Hope for Tomorrow which has been taped
for Danish Television.
In addition to producing his own music, he has presented other musicians
on his public access television show, "Leonard Ellis Presents Performance", which aired in '83 & '84 on Group W Cable.
He has published two books of his poetry, "unrestrained madness" (1973), a double book of poetry and "frozen rainbows" (1980). He has also been published in several journals, newsletters and magazines including the literary journal "Skywriters" and the self-expression magazine "PostScript."
In 1991, he had a solo exhibition of his paintings at Mama Pajama as
well as exhibiting in group shows at LACE and the Barbara Mendes Gallery.
Since 2008, his music has been regularly featured on the radio show Nordic Roots & Branches. The NRB Waltz, a tune inspired by the show, was adopted as the show's theme song in October 2010.
In 2010, his song Sweet Whitefish & Pike was published in the Spring issue of Sing Out! magazine and one of his photos was published in the 2011 Folk Dance Calendar.
His other interests include gardening, butterflies, cooking, and charting his family's
Leonard Ellis is currently a member of numerous artistic organizations
including the National Academy of Recording
Arts and Sciences, the Folk
Alliance and the Country Dance and Song Society.