Eliza Brown, composer

Eliza Brown headshot

The music of composer Eliza Brown, described as “delicate, haunting, [and] introspective” by Symphony Magazine, is performed by leading new music ensembles including Ensemble Dal Niente, ensemble recherche, Network for New Music, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Spektral Quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, Ninth Planet, and PRISM Saxophone Quartet. Her works have been heard at concert venues throughout the USA and abroad, as well as at juried festivals such as Omaha Under the Radar, the John Donald Robb Composers Symposium, and the SCI National Conference. Eliza’s music has been released on multiple labels and supported by grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Paul R. Judy Center for Innovation and Research, the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation, and New Music USA. She was recently awarded a fall 2022 themed residency at Ragdale Foundation with the interdisciplinary Theorem Collective.

Eliza’s music is motivated by sound and its potential for contextual meaning. Her work is frequently intertextual, opening dialogues with existing pieces of music, historical styles, and other cultural artifacts. She also explores relationships between music and the other arts and humanities, collaborating with practitioners of theater, dance, architecture, poetry, visual art, animation, and film, and frequently taking on artistic and organizational roles in these collaborations beyond “composer.” Building intentional, project-specific collaborative processes is an essential part of her work. Eliza is currently developing Theorem, an immersive performance-installation exploring how untold secrets shape us from the inside out, with the Theorem Collective, and The Listening Year, a project exploring the changing sonic ecology of a place through collaborative interpretation of weekly field recordings, resulting in a piece for cello, percussion, and electronic media for New Morse Code.

Eliza is currently Associate Professor of Music at DePauw University, where she teaches courses in Composition, Music Theory, and DePauw’s 21st Century Musician Initiative curriculum. She holds degrees from University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance (BMus) and Northwestern University (DMA).

Eliza Brown's piece of our transgressions premiered with the Grossman Ensemble on December 2, 2022. 


Program notes:

For me, of our transgressions is a reflection on allowing oneself to breach self-imposed internal boundaries—to examine thoughts, memories, and pieces of self previously forbidden—and all that follows, internally and externally, from those mental acts. Technically, the piece expands upon a compositional approach I developed several years ago, in which the pitches of “underlying” triads and seventh chords are expanded spectrally, with corresponding expansions and contractions in harmonic rhythm. This piece pushes elements of that approach into new territory, while completely abandoning others in both systematic and impulsive ways. My own interpretations of what my pieces are about often mirror (or come to my awareness through) the process of their composition. This piece both honors and transgresses a way of making music that I have known for a long time, making holes in its dams and singing as water flows through them.


Grossman Ensemble premieres Eliza Brown's "of our transgressions"