Mary Ellen Childs

From Wind Repertory Project
Mary Ellen


Mary Ellen Childs (b. 13 April 1957, Lafayette, Ind.) is an American composer.

Ms. Childs has been acclaimed for creating both rhythmic, exuberant instrumental works and bold, kinetic compositions that integrate music, dance and theater in fresh and unexpected ways. She has created numerous "visual percussion" pieces that embody the concept of music in motion, for her ensemble CRASH. Her repertoire includes Click, a fast-paced, game-like work for three stick-wielding performers; DrumRoll, for four drummers on wheels; and Sight of Hand, based on uniquely American forms of body percussion -- girls' clapping games, hamboning, and baseball coaching signals.

One of her favorite instruments is the accordion, and as a result of her close working association with accordionist Guy Klucevsek, she has created nearly a dozen works that include the instrument, including Oa Poa Polka, part of Klucevsek’s Polka from the Fringe collection of 32 post-modern polkas; and Four of One of Another, commissioned by the Kronos Quartet for string quartet and accordion.

Childs has received two Bush Artist Fellowships, as well as fellowships from the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, and grants from the NEA, Rockefeller MAP fund and Meet the Composer. She has composed two works for concert band, Zephyrus and Green Light. Recently she created the evening-length Dream House for string quartet ETHEL and multi-image video, based on images of destruction and construction, cycles of time, and rhythms of construction work.

Works for Winds