Elizabeth Ogonek

Elizabeth Ogonek is a composer who strives to create music that is energetic, dramatic, vivid and colorful. Often inspired by text, Elizabeth’s work explores the transference of words and poetic imagery to music. The nature of her interests has led to several collaborations with writers. Recent projects include her Three Pieces for guitar and narrator, written in conjunction with author Sophia Veltfort, which received its premiere at the Barbican Centre’s Milton Court Theatre in April 2014. Together with poet Ghazal Mosadeq, Elizabeth composed a song cycle for countertenor and cello that was premiered at Wigmore Hall in May 2014. Other past collaborations have involved working with poet/playwright Jonathan Dubow and soprano/actress Sophie Wingland to create a 10-minute adaptation of Dubow’s full-length play The Mysteries of Jacob for narrator and clarinet. Elizabeth has also worked extensively with Indian poet Ralph Nazareth to set both his work and the work of his poetry students at Green Haven Correctional Facility. 

Elizabeth’s music has been commissioned and performed by the Brillaner Duo; Indiana University Concert Orchestra; soprano Sophie Wingland; guitarist Michael Poll; horn player Alma Maria Liebrecht; the Wellesley Sinfonietta; Dinosaur Annex; the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra; members of eighth blackbird; the USC Thornton Symphony; the Aldeburgh Festival for the Britten-Pears Ensemble; the Tanglewood Fromm Players; explorensemble; the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival for the FLUX Quartet and the Royal Philharmonic Society for Ensemble 360/Music in the Round. In January 2013, Elizabeth was selected for the London Symphony Orchestra’s 2013-14 Discovery Panufnik Scheme. Following a successful workshop and recording of as though birds under the direction of François-Xavier Roth, she was awarded an LSO Discovery Panufnik Commission. Her piece will be premiered at the Barbican Centre in March 2016 in the culminating concert of the LSO’s Futures series. 

Most recently, Elizabeth was appointed by Music Director Riccardo Muti to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as one of its Mead Composers-in-Residence. Alongside Samuel Carl Adams, she will begin her three-year appointment in 2015. Elizabeth’s first piece as resident composer will be premiered by Maestro Muti and the CSO in February 2016. 

She is the recipient of awards from the ASCAP Foundation, the 2010 Dean’s Prize (Indiana University), the 2010 PACO Youth-for-Youth Commission, the 2012 Pi Kappa Lambda Award (University of Southern California), the 2012 Hans J. Salter Endowed Music Award (USC), a 2013 Charles Ives Scholarship (American Academy of Arts and Letters), and the 2014 RPS Composition Prize. In addition, she was awarded the 2009 Beinecke Brothers Memorial Scholarship and a 2010-12 Graduate Teaching Assistantship (USC). Currently, Elizabeth holds a 2012-15 Marshall Scholarship funded by the British Government.  

Born in 1989 in Anoka, Minnesota and raised in New York City, Elizabeth began studying music in the Preparatory Division at Manhattan School of Music. She has attended several summer festivals including the Yellow Barn Young Artists’ Program, Bowdoin International Music Festival, the American Conservatory in Paris at Fontainebleau (France), FUBiS (Germany), Music11 with eighth blackbird (Switzerland) and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme (UK). Elizabeth has received fellowships to attend the Wellesley Composers’ Conference and the Tanglewood Music Center. In July 2013, she was a Young Composer-in-Residence at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and in January 2015 she was in residence at MacDowell Colony. 

Elizabeth’s primary teachers have included Matthew Van Brink, Don Freund, Claude Baker, Michael Gandolfi, Donald Crockett and Stephen Hartke. She currently studies with Julian Anderson. She has received further mentorship from Samuel Adler, Derek Bermel, John Harbison, Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews. Elizabeth holds degrees from Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music (BM, 2009) and the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music (MM, 2012). In July 2015, she will complete her doctoral studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.