Ellen Kirkwood


Ellen Kirkwood, born 1985, is a Sydney-based composer, trumpeter, bandleader and educator. A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium in Jazz Studies, she was the 2012 winner of the Jann Rutherford Memorial Award for young Australian women in jazz. In 2016 She won an Australia Council grant for a composition mentorship with esteemed composer and pianist Barney McAll, during which she wrote her epic 1 hour large ensemble work [A]part. This work is a finalist in the 2018 Art Music Awards in the Jazz Work of the Year category. In 2017 she was a finalist in the Freedman Jazz Fellowship Awards.

On top of two albums of her original music with her own groups Captain Kirkwood and Fat Yahoozah, Ellen’s compositions and arrangements can be heard in performance and recordings by several successful Sydney groups, including Sirens Big Band, Mister Ott and the Sydney Women’s Jazz Collective. She has received commissions from the Sydney International Womens’ Jazz Festival, Ars Music Australis, Sirens Big Band and Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School. She is the director of the Young Womens’ Jazz Orchestra; an initiative for talented youth aspiring toward careers in jazz.

Composer website: https://soundcloud.com/capnkirkwood

Featured Works

Rising Tide, for 15 piece big band.

Rising Tide is a short section from my 1 hour [A]part suite, and is a comment on the immense and growing problem of climate change. This recording was part of my performance at the 2017 Freedman Jazz Fellowships.

– Ellen Kirkwood

Featured in Harmonic Waves (May 2019).