Eliza Brown's music is motivated by sound and its potential for meaning; engagement with the broader arts and humanities; fundamental questions about the nature of human existence, social relationships, and responsibilities; and sensory experience. Their 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; heard on stages throughout the USA and in Mexico, Colombia, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Canada, and the UAE; and recorded on multiple labels.
Eliza’s work is frequently intertextual, opening dialogues with existing pieces of music, historical styles, and other cultural artifacts. It 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 to be re-staged at each performance site, with reference to the social history of that space.
Eliza’s artistic interests give rise to questions about the interpretation and meaning of music that drive their scholarship. Their 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 singers in Pnima sing phonemes and wordless vocal sounds.
Eliza is a dedicated teacher who enjoys helping students develop as creators and engage complex ideas with rigor and enthusiasm. They are currently Associate Professor of Music at DePauw University, where they teach composition and music theory. Eliza has enjoyed a long-term affiliation with the Walden School Young Musicians Program, where they have spent many summers in many roles, including faculty and 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.