Eliza Brown's music is motivated by sound and its potential for meaning, an engagement with the broader arts and humanities, and fundamental questions about the nature of human existence, social relationships and responsibilities, and sensory experience. Eliza’s compositions have been performed by leading interpreters of new music, including Ensemble Dal Niente, Spektral Quartet, ensemble recherche, International Contemporary Ensemble, Network for New Music, Ensemble SurPlus, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and Wild Rumpus New Music Collective. Her works have been heard on stages throughout the USA and in Mexico, Colombia, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Canada, and the UAE, and have been recorded on multiple labels.
Eliza’s work is frequently intertextual, opening dialogues with existing pieces of music, historical styles, and other cultural artifacts. Her work is also frequently interdisciplinary, with a particular focus on music-theater and opera. Recent projects include The Body of the State (2017), a music-theater work about the life of Juana of Castile written in collaboration with six women who were at the time of writing incarcerated at Indiana Women's Prison. Commissioned and premiered by Ensemble Dal Niente, this work incorporates the instrumentalists into its staging as a representation of the oppressive, hierarchical family and society that shaped Juana's life. Prospect and Refuge (2015), for four female voices, explores how public spaces shape social experience and was created in collaboration with architect Hannah Marzynski, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and stage director Emmi Hilger. The piece is designed to be re-staged at each new performance site, with reference to the social history of that particular space.
Eliza’s artistic interests give rise to questions about the interpretation and meaning of music that drive her scholarship. Her dissertation, A Narratological Analysis of ‘Pnima…ins innere’ by Chaya Czernowin, used methods drawn from the interdisciplinary field of narratology (the study of narrative) to examine how Czernowin’s opera tells its story by means of music alone, as the singers in Pnima sing phonemes and vocal sounds rather than words.
Eliza is a dedicated teacher who enjoys helping students strengthen their creative voices and engage complex ideas with rigor and enthusiasm. She is currently Assistant Professor of Music at DePauw University, where she teaches composition and music theory. Eliza has also had a long-time affiliation with the Walden School Young Musicians Program, where she currently serves as Academic Dean. Eliza holds a B.Mus. summa cum laude in composition from the University of Michigan and a D.M.A. in composition from Northwestern University.