Making Music

Although my training and career are as a historical musicologist, I have always remained active as a performer, event organizer, and community musician.

As a professional cellist, I play with the North Georgia Chamber Symphony and Piedmont Pro Musica, and I work frequently with churches, choral organizations, and wedding contractors throughout the region. I worked as a professional choral artist while pursuing my graduate degrees, singing with the Yale Schola Cantorum and the Christ Church Choir.

Esther Morgan-Ellis conducting Esther Morgan-Ellis playing the fiddle

As a fiddler, I perform and make recordings with various collaborators and bands, including the Happy Campers. I also teach with the Georgia Pick & Bow Traditional Music School, the Alabama Folk School, and the John C. Campbell Folk School. I play banjo and guitar at our local Pickin’ Porch jams.

Esther & Holland

For the past year I have been collaborating with banjo player Holland Hopson on an album of original tunes. We will record and take the program on a brief tour in Alabama and Georgia in May 2024.

Licklog String Band

I am most active with the Licklog String Band, which plays contra dances and shows throughout the North Georgia region. Our repertoire combines traditional tunes and songs with new compositions by members of the band. We have recorded two albums.

Esther Morgan-Ellis playing the banjo Esther Morgan-Ellis playing the cello

Dahlonega Sacred Harp

I host biweekly Sacred Harp singings at the historic Vickery House, home to the UNG Appalachian Studies Center. On alternate Tuesdays, community members and students come together to sing from 7 to 8:45. All are welcome! Our group conducts an annual all-day singing at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church on the Saturday before the first Sunday in April.

Esther Morgan-Ellis playing the fiddle at an outdoor old-time jam Esther Morgan-Ellis conducting

Kennedy Creek Old-Time Music Festival

I direct the Kennedy Creek Old-Time Music Festival, which brings hundreds of musicians to Suches, GA each autumn for jamming, workshops, and concerts. I also organize workshops for the Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega, GA.