For over twenty-five years, Ellen Fullman perfected her unique musical structure, the “Long String Instrument” (LSI). LSI is an installation of dozens of wires fifty feet or more in length, tuned in Just Intonation and ‘bowed’ with rosin coated fingers. She has recorded extensively with this unusual instrument and has collaborated with such luminary figures as composer Pauline Oliveros, choreographer Deborah Hay, the Kronos Quartet, and KeijiHaino. For her presentation at CAMH she will perform with experimental musicians and composers LucianoChessa, Travis Weller, and Theresa Wong.
Ellen Fullman is a composer and performer based in Berkeley, California. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, as a teenager she became inspired by the sounds native to her region: Delta blues music. At the age of one, she was kissed by Elvis, who said to her, “Hi-ya baby!” Fullman studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute where she learned of the work of Harry Partch. Inspired by Alvin Lucier’s Music on a Long Thin Wire, she suspended long wires in her loft studio in St. Paul, Minnesota and experimented with different forms of manual articulation. Through an accidental discovery of the longitudinal mode of vibration, in 1980 Fullman invented the Long String Instrument, which has remained at the core of her creative life. The process of refining and articulating this instrument has led her to experimenting with wire alloys and gauges; designing resonators and tuning capos; creating a graphic notation form that defines time by distance walked; the study of natural tuning and North Indian vocal music; explorations of the resonances of architectural spaces around the world; and numerous collaborations with artists at the frontiers of musical invention in her quest to “Let the strings sing their own song.”