JJJJJerome Ellis is an Afro-Caribbean composer, improviser, multi-instrumentalist, and theater artist originally from Virginia Beach and based in New York City. His concerts, performances, and texts are invitations to healing, transcendence, communion, and deep listening. Through an interdisciplinary practice that focuses on oral storytelling, improvisation, and the interrelations between speech, silence, disability, and religion, he’s collaborated with choreographers, rappers, playwrights, booksellers, typographers, podcasters, toddlers, and filmmakers. Ellis' work has been presented or developed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Lincoln Center, and WKCR. He’s a 2019 MacDowell Fellow, a writer in residence at Lincoln Center Theater, and a 2015 Fulbright Fellow. Together with childhood friend James Harrison Monaco, he forms the musician-storyteller duo James & Jerome. Their show Ink: A Piece for Museums (co-created with media designer Shawn Duan) was presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival 2019 – the first ever collaboration between the Met and Under the Radar. He’s also a piano tuner and teacher, as well as a translator from Portuguese.
Portrait by Gema Galiana