Born in Buenos Aires in the year which saw the birth of the first female president in the world, Ellen C. Covito grew up playing music amidst the political turmoil (the notorious “dirty war”) that took over Argentina shortly afterwards. While studying environmental sciences in college, Covito turned to music once again (for the third time in her life), and began composing as well as improvising, as a continuation of her interest in the mechanism underlying theories of ecology and feminism.

Covito’s early works consisted in attempts to apply theoretical structures and ideas surrounding environmental problems to music, which soon led her to explore the lineage of Twentieth century experimental music from a distinct perspective. Covito realized that the fundamental issues of music were formally no different from those of ecology (or of feminism, for that matter): the endless process of setting and erasing dichotomies, of differentiating what belongs to one side (“us”) and not to the other (“them”), and of effacing even that difference so that “we” could have more and more. A mechanism that obviously resonates with the political violence that surrounded her childhood.

Covito’s recent works specifically attack the problematic (too easily dismissed but actually not so easily dismissible) dichotomy between composition and improvisation. She does this by introducing distance between the performer and what is performed, while removing the distance between the act of composition and performance.


ellen c. covito