Violinist Ellen Ensey is active in a variety of musical arenas. A two-time recipient of the Director’s Award for Orchestra (1995, 1999), she has played in orchestras in Waterloo, Des Moines, the Quad Cities, Owensboro (KY), Tucson (AZ), and Jerusalem. Ellen has performed in a variety of chamber music ensembles, giving annual recitals throughout the Midwest and as part of the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival. Recently, she taught violin and orchestra at the Ron Shulamit Conservatory in Jerusalem, where she also served as Associate Concertmaster of the faculty chamber orchestra. Her Jewish folk ensemble, Alei Assor, appeared at the Klezmer Festival of Tzfat in 2005, and released a CD entitled I recall my song in the night.

Ellen is a summa cum laude graduate of Indiana University. In addition to TSO, she is Concertmaster of the Tucson Chamber Orchestra and teaches privately.

When did you start playing the violin?
Age 4.

Why did you choose the violin?
Chosen by parents.

Do you come from a musical family?

What makes your instrument special?
It’s simply the best in terms of repertoire offered and musical possibilities.

What advice would you give to aspiring young violinists?
Never underestimate the amount of dedication needed to master a stringed instrument.

How much do you practice?
4-5 hours daily.

Most exciting musical experience?
A performance of Brahms 1st Symphony at Indiana University.

What kind of career would you have chosen if you weren’t a musician?

Running, hiking.

Favorite composers:
Brahms, Prokofiev, R. Strauss.

Waterloo, Iowa