top of page

Ellen Rowe - Jazz Piano

University of Michigan

Ellen Rowe, jazz pianist and composer, is currently Professor and Chair of the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation Department at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Rayburn Wright and Bill Dobbins.  Prior to her appointment in Michigan, she served as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Connecticut.


Winner of the Hartford, CT Advocate "Readers’ Poll for Best Acoustic Jazz", Ms. Rowe has performed at jazz clubs and in concert series throughout the U.S., in addition to touring in South Africa, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland and Australia. Also active as a clinician, she has given workshops and master classes at the Melbourne Conservatory, Hochshule fur Musik in Cologne and The Royal Academy of Music in London. She has also made many appearances as a guest artist at festivals and Universities around the country.


When not leading her own quartet, Ms. Rowe is in demand as a sideman, having performed with artists including Kenny Wheeler, Tim Ries, Tom Harrell, John Clayton, Frank Morgan, Ingrid Jensen and Steve Turre.  She was also a guest on two installments of Marian McPartland’s  “Piano Jazz” on National Public Radio.  Her three CDs as a leader, “Sylvan Way” (2000), “Denali Pass” (2005) and “Wishing Well” (2010) have received extensive airplay and critical acclaim. Jazz critic Ken Franckling describes “Wishing Well”, featuring Ingrid Jensen, as a “gem in every respect, revealing much to savor on every track” and All About Jazz’s Bruce Lindsay says “The Ellen Rowe Quartet deserves wider recognition, with the beautifully realized Wishing Well a rich and engaging testament to this band's talent.”


Ms. Rowe's compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by jazz ensembles and orchestras around the world, including the Village Vanguard Orchestra, BBC Jazz Orchestra, U.S. Navy Commodores, Berlin and NDR Radio Jazz Orchestras, London Symphony, DIVA and the Westchester Jazz Orchestra.  Many of these works can be heard on recently released CDs including “Leave It To Diva”, “The Perth Jazz Orchestra”, “Bingo” (The Bird of Paradise Orchestra) and “I Believe In You” (DIVA). She has recently been a composer-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway.  Her big band compositions are currently published by Sierra Music Publications.


Having been selected to conduct the MENC All-Eastern and All-Northwest Jazz Ensembles as well as All-State jazz ensembles throughout the country, Ms. Rowe has also been an invited clinician at the Music Educators National Conference Eastern Division Convention and the International Association of Jazz Educators Convention.  Her quartet was featured in performance at the 2005 IAJE Conference in Long Beach, California, the 2009 Detroit International Jazz Festival and the 2011 Jazz Education Network Conference.  A new duo album with Andrew Bishop, “Chisel and Stone” and a new quintet CD “Courage Music” are due out in early 2014.

bottom of page