"It is hard enough for a young composer to invent sounds. But Tamzin Elliott invented an entire culture."
- Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
Tamzin Elliott is a composer, harpist, singer, and writer. Thankfully, all those things tend to help with the others - it’s a useful web of skills for the particular species of works Tamzin loves to make.
Tamzin is fascinated by the interaction of text and music, writing songs, collaborating with poets, and arranging texts, while always experimenting with the emotional impact of cognition and understanding in audiences. When is understanding every word imperative? When is it annoying? When is the experience of letting words and music wash over you a blessing, and when is it just overwhelming or frustrating? These are the kinds of questions Tamzin hones in on in their process of making.
Tamzin graduated with a doctorate in composition from the University of Southern California, studying under Ted Hearne, Don Crockett, and Sean Friar. During their time at USC they also studied Historically Informed Performance, focusing on early European harp performance, leading to their current studies with Siobhán Armstrong (founder of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland) on the early Irish wire-strung harp, or cláirseach. Additionally, they were mentored in arts journalism by Pulitzer Prize winning music journalist, Tim Page.
For their thesis in poetry at Bard College, they created their first even-length work with the guidance of Ann Lauterbach, combining poetry, polyphonic text performance, and songwriting into a work probing dreamscapes of the familiar. Titled in the Dream House, this production sparked their love of producing large-scale immersive work.
They have sung their own pieces with Los Angeles groups wildUp and Thornton Edge, as well as San Francisco’s After Everything and Brooklyn’s Longleash Trio. In Winter of 2018 they premiered an immersive theater work Allways based on the letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman. Currently they are working on Meidelant: an opera on the maidenhood of Morgan le Fay, with poet Sara Fetherolf and non-profit early music ensemble L. A. Camerata.
Alongside their music career they are a new music concert reviewer for the San Francisco Classical Voice.