Monti Ellison teaches African dance and drumming at Orange Coast College, Loyola Marymount University and Santa Monica College, and he has taught at Chapman University and other schools, programs and festivals in the US and abroad. An accomplished percussionist/drummer, composer and vocalist, he has performed worldwide with Harry Belafonte, Stephanie Mills, Lonnie Liston Smith, Little Steven, Rhapsody In Taps, The Music Connection and other artists.
Early in his career he danced in the Congolese dance company, Tanawa, directed by Congolese master dancer/drummer, Titos Sompa. Monti performed traditional dances with Tanawa such as: Yembela, Boucher, Masque Dance, N’ Goma ba Congo and Ganza. Monti also studied acting and went on to combine his talents in a successful performing career that included three Broadway shows: Guys and Dolls, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope and the Broadway equity national tour of The Buddy Holly Story. From 1992 – 1995, while living in Hamburg Germany, he toured Europe with The Caribbean Unlimited Orchestra, Frank Valdor Orchestra, Go-Go Free, Tatara, and he performed in Hamburg with the jazz trio, Soul Eyes. A skilled improviser on djembe, congas, berimbau and other world percussion, Monti is frequently invited to perform as a soloist, and he performs percussion and tap duets with his wife, Linda Sohl-Ellison.
Monti Ellison was head staff musician for 15 years at the Alvin Ailey School in New York. He has worked as a dance accompanist at UCLA, Santa Monica College, Cerritos College, and he is currently a dance musician at Loyola Marymount University, California State University, Long Beach and The Wooden Floor. Monti has composed numerous dance scores: Judith Jamison’s Divining for the Alvin Ailey company, a percussion score for the New York based Urban Arts Corps’ production of Alice in Wonderland directed by Vinette Carroll and choreographed by Talley Beatty, J5A6Z7Z8 for jazz choreographer Jose Meier, percussion works for California based choreographers: John Pennington, Lorin Johnson, Erin Landry, as well as a diverse range of scores for Rhapsody In Taps, and compositions for the Monti Ellison Percussion Ensemble.
Instructor of: African Dance