A native of Los Angeles, Ellen grew up in a musical family with influences of classical, folk and film music. When she was 9 years old, folk music became her passion, when her mom brought home a recording by Pete Seeger.
Learning first the guitar, then the banjo, she became interested in traditional folk music of Appalachia, which led to learning the autoharp and mountain dulcimer. Music was incorporated into work, with stints as camp counselor, singing waitress, string band member and session musician. Working with her father, the late film composer Jerry Goldsmith, Ellen played guitar and autoharp for his popular television theme for “The Waltons”, and for the film score of “Wild Rovers”. In collaboration with her brother Joel, also a film composer, they co-produced two collections of children’s songs (“Family Fare” and “The Sweetness of You“). Ellen also contributed guitar, dulcimer and autoharp tracks to Joel’s score for the film “Shilo 2”.
After moving to rural New Hampshire in the 1970’s, Ellen pursued an interest in instrument building with guitar-maker Michael Gurian. She studied elementary education at Keene State College, later earning her Masters in Early Childhood Special Education at Antioch New England. As a teacher of first grade, kindergarten and preschool, as well as an elementary school principal, Ellen has always woven music throughout the day in her classroom and family life.