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Warren Ellis (born 14 February 1965)[citation needed] is an Australian-French musician and composer. He is a member of several groups: Dirty Three, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Grinderman. He has also composed film scores with Nick Cave. Ellis plays violin, piano, accordion, bouzouki, guitar, flute, mandolin, tenor guitar, and viola.[1][2] Ellis has been a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds since 1994.[3][4]

Warren Ellis
Born (1965-02-14) 14 February 1965 (age 54)
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Occupation(s)Musician and composer
InstrumentsViolin, piano, accordion, bouzouki, guitar, flute, mandolin, tenor guitar, viola
LabelsAnchor & Hope
Bella Union
Associated actsDirty Three
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Charlie Marshall and the Body Electric


Life and careerEdit

Warren Ellis of the Dirty Three performing at WOMADelaide 2012

Ellis was born in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.[5] He has said that he came to music by accident: while playing at the local tip, he found an abandoned piano accordion. He took it to school and his teacher showed him how to play it.[6] He later learned classical violin and flute at school in Ballarat.

After winning a scholarship to a private high school.[7] Ellis went to university in Melbourne, where he studied classical violin. After that he then worked briefly as a schoolteacher in country Victoria. In January 1988 he travelled to Europe, where he busked in Greece, Hungary, Scotland and Ireland. A year later he returned to Australia.[5][8] Ellis then wrote music for theatre groups and performed at art openings and plays in Melbourne, before he started playing in bands in the early nineties.[2][9]

In 1992 Ellis formed The Dirty Three with guitarist Mick Turner and drummer Jim White. As of 2018 the band have recorded nine studio albums, including several to appear on the ARIA charts in their native Australia.

In 1993, Ellis was invited to play with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as part of a small string ensemble for several songs on Let Love In (released 1994). He would soon join the band as a full-time member, eventually co-writing many of the band's songs and becoming a pivotal collaborator with singer Nick Cave in film scores and other projects. Ellis was also a member of Grinderman, a side-group from the Bad Seeds, who have released two albums.[2]

In 2002, Ellis released a solo album on King Crab records called Three Pieces for Violin. Since 2005 he has played on several Marianne Faithfull albums. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis composed the award-winning score of the film The Proposition, and collaborated again on the scores of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Road and Far from Men.

In 2009, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis released White Lunar – an album that includes other soundtrack scores.

Writing in the Guardian in 2016, Van Badham acknowledged Ellis' influence in the development of Australian music, describing him as a "brilliant multi-instrumentalist as well as musical creator (whose) aesthetic range has furnished the distinctive sound of Australian bands from the Blackeyed Susans to Kim Salmon and the Surrealists."[10]

Ellis has lived in Paris since 1998 with his French wife and their two children.[11][2]


Solo albumsEdit

  • Three Pieces for Violin (2002)

Solo film scoresEdit

Film and theatre scores with Nick CaveEdit

Other collaborationsEdit



  1. ^ "CULTURE : Digging diamonds from the dirt; Dirty Three Birmingham Academy 2". Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Warren Ellis Interview". BBC. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  3. ^ Baker, J. (2013). The Art of Nick Cave: New Critical Essays. Intellect Books. p. 72.
  4. ^ "Liverpool – Entertainment – Dirty Three @ Carling Academy". BBC. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
  5. ^ a b Calkin, J. "Flying on instruments". The Telegraph.
  6. ^ Badham, Van (3 January 2016). "Warren Ellis of Dirty Three: music is a place to get away from things". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
  7. ^ Option: Volumes 66–71, Sonic Options Network, 1996
  8. ^ Dwyer, M. "Wild seed". The Age.
  9. ^ "From The Archives -Dirty Three- Concert Chronology / Gigography". Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  10. ^ Badham, Van (3 January 2016). "Warren Ellis of Dirty Three: music is a place to get away from things". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  11. ^ "More than one string to his bow". The Age. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Vesturport". Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  13. ^ "Trailer: Nick Cave-Penned/Scored 'Lawless'". Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  14. ^

External linksEdit