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Photographer, New York

American Academy Distinguished Visitor - Class of Fall 2010

Nancy Ellison has received high recognition for her work as author, producer, and photographer with exhibitions at the Metropolitan Opera House, Sotheby’s New York, and the Mary Boone Gallery. Her Broadway credits as producer include several award-winning plays such as Thurgood (2008), The Country Girl (2008), The Seafarer (2008), and Inherit the Wind (2007). Ellison’s photography has been praised for combining visual narrative with in-depth historical material in order to capture the Gesamtkunstwerk. As a philanthropist, Ellison serves on the boards of the American Ballet Theatre and the National Trust for the Humanities. She was also the director of the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts.


Ellison has published widely and is the author of In Grand Style: The Glory of the Metropolitan Opera (Rizzoli, 2006) and In Classic Style: The Splendor of American Ballet Theatre (Rizzoli 2008). At a dress rehearsal of the Metropolitan Opera’s final production of Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Otto Schenk, Ellison took over ten thousand photographs. The resulting book, Wagner’s Eternal Ring (Rizzoli, 2010),  offers a visual progression that leads readers through the complete narrative of each music drama in the Ring cycle.

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