Lucas Artists Fellow

Ellen Fullman is a composer and performer based in Berkeley, California. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, as a teenager she became inspired by the sounds native to her region: Delta blues music. At the age of one, she was kissed by Elvis, who said to her, “Hi-ya baby!” Fullman studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute where she learned of the work of Harry Partch. Inspired by Alvin Lucier’s Music on a Long Thin Wire, she suspended long wires in her loft studio in St. Paul Minnesota and experimented with different forms of manual articulation.  Through an accidental discovery of the longitudinal mode of vibration, Fullman invented the Long String Instrument, which has remained at the core of her creative life. The process of refining and articulating this instrument has led her to experimenting with wire alloys and gauges; designing resonators and tuning capos; creating a graphic notation form that defines time by distance walked; and studying natural tuning and North Indian vocal music, among many other things, in her quest to “Let the strings sing their own song.”