Ellen Ciompi has a repertoire which transcends boundaries and embraces jazz, standards, traditional tunes, and even the occasional foray into classical song. She's been singing all her life, and creating & presenting cabaret performances with pianist/music director Glenn Mehrbach since 2003. From Duke Ellington to Lady Gaga, Ellen's delivery is always marked by the highest musicianship and interpretive sensibility, and she sings with style, charm, and gleeful wit.
During her time at the prestigious Cabaret Conference at Yale University, Ellen worked with many greats in the field, including Andrea Marcovicci, Marilyn Maye, Amanda McBroom, and Laurel Massé. Steve Ross (NYC’s “Crown Prince of Cabaret”) has said about her,
“Ellen is an extraordinarily talented cabaret singer who deserves to have a wider audience. She has a remarkable knowledge of the repertoire, passion for her work, and a terrific collaborator in her pianist, Glenn Mehrbach. Go hear her sing!”
Ellen has performed at a variety of venues, including Duke University, The Casbah, The King’s Daughters Inn, The Regulator Bookshop, Guglhupf Café, The Cookery, Cafe Parizade, the O. Henry Hotel, and others. She was featured on WCOM’s “Melva’s Musings on Jazz”, WHUP's "Live Jazz Now!", has appeared on the NPR quiz show “Piano Puzzler”, and sang for Alex Trebek when she was a contestant on “Jeopardy!”. In addition, she has been an emcee and celebrity judge for Durham’s fabled annual Beaver Queen Pageant, and has helped raise thousands of dollars for charitable groups such as The Scrap Exchange, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, Historic Preservation of Durham, and the Haitian Earthquake Relief effort.
Watch a documentary on Ellen, created by Duke's Center for Documentary Studies
A native of New York City, Ellen has lived in North Carolina since 1982 with her clarinet-playing, wine-critiquing husband of 35 years, Arturo, and their two daughters. She holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music as well as an RN. Ellen recently retired after 25 years as a surgical nurse, and spends way too many hours "mucking about in the garden" and volunteering at The Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC, where she's president of the board. If you're a "tweeter" follow her @EllenCiompi.
Ellen's CD, "Taking a Chance on Love", features a live performance of 15 songs which explore love and how it's influenced by magic, voodoo, gambling, and luck--both good and bad. The last song, "Ever So Quietly", has music by Glenn Mehrbach and lyrics by Ellen. In August 2017, Ellen started work on another recording project, laying down tracks for 30 songs with Glenn, Robbie Link on bass, and her husband Arturo on clarinet, at Overdub Lane Studios in Durham, NC.
"Come to the Cookery: Mallarme to Present Weill & Wilder Songbook" - Durham Herald-Sun
"Ellen Ciompi's Cabaret Show Weaves a Magical and Marvelous Evening" - Classical Voice of North Carolina
"Ellen Ciompi: Luck, Love, and ... Lady Gaga?" - Classical Voice of North Carolina
"Featured Artist Interview: Ellen Ciompi" - Kris Ferris
"Ellen Ciompi Presents Valentine's Cabaret" - Classical Voice of North Carolina
"Interview with Cabaret Songstress Ellen Ciompi" - Durham Magazine, February 8, 2016
After my own home, my most favorite place in Durham is The Scrap Exchange, a nonprofit with a mission to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse. I'm on the Board of Directors and am very proud to be associated with an organization at the forefront of creative reuse in Durham, the state, and the nation. Surf over to www.scrapexchange.org to see what we're doing and how you can support the #reuserevolution.
Visit www.glennmehrbach.com to learn more about my fabulous musical director, Glenn Mehrbach!
Everything you ever wanted to know about cabaret, lovingly compiled by the tireless Stu Hamstra: Cabaret Hotline Online
The best bookstore in Durham! Why give your money to national chains when you can keep it local? The Regulator Bookshop: a thoroughly independent, locally owned bookstore.
They're great musicians, and they're family: The Ciompi Quartet, master artists at Duke University in Durham. www.ciompi.org
My dear friend Alan Welch should be your photographer of choice for everything from intimate portraits to corporate documentation. Plus, his fantasy & steampunk photoshop creations are astounding! Check out his website here, and remember any friend of Ellen's gets extra consideration from Alan, so be sure to mention my name. :)
Lovers of wine and music should be sure to visit my husband's website. Arturo is an award-winning wine expert and writer, plus you can listen to him playing the sweetest clarinet since Benny Goodman. www.ArturoOnWine.com