As one of Australia’s foremost contemporary composers, Elena Kats-Chernin’s vibrant and distinctive music featured at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, 2003 Rugby World Cup and 2018 Commonwealth Games. Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Kats-Chernin has received numerous prizes including Helpmann, Limelight, Sounds Australian and Sydney Theatre Awards, and the 2013 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Individual Award.
Attracting commissions from the world’s leading opera, ballet, and theatre companies, Kats-Chernin’s music has been performed by all major orchestras in Australia, as well as Australian Chamber Orchestra, Brandenburg Orchestra and Australian World Orchestra; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Komische Oper Berlin, Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, the City of London Sinfonia, BBC Orchestra, and also in many festivals in the US, Europe, and almost every arts festival in Australia.
In 2018 her third piano concerto, Lebewohl, received its world premiere by ARIA award-winning pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alondra de la Parra, and was subsequently streamed worldwide by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. Her full-length opera for Opera Australia, WHITELEY – with libretto by Justin Fleming – premiered in the Sydney Opera House and was nominated in the 2020 International Opera Awards for ‘Best new opera’.
2021 premieres included Cinque Forme d’Amore by Steel City Strings; a flute quintet adaptation of flute concerto Night and Now by Sally Walker and Omega Ensemble; children’s opera Wind in den Weiden (Wind in the Willows) in Germany; Human Waves for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ Centenary with libretto by Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Bag of Twelve for Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, and Inner Angels for Melbourne Youth Orchestra. The current season heralds major premieres by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Orava Quartet, and for the Australian Women in Music Awards.
Kats-Chernin’s chart-topping music also features onscreen: Eliza Aria was used by British bank Lloyds TSB; Russian Rag featured in award-winning claymation film Mary and Max; and Kats-Chernin composed the music for the episodic Australian opera for television, The Divorce (libretto by Joanna Murray-Smith), watched by more than a million viewers on ABC TV. Her music features in pianist Lang Lang’s Play and the Bach333 box set(Deutsche Grammophon); ABC Classics has recently released a 10-disc Box Set with many of her works of the past 25 years, among them several large scale orchestra pieces such as The Witching Hour, Displaced Dances and Prelude and Cube.
Elena Kats-Chernin’s music is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes/Bote & Bock.
Elena has been announced as a finalist in the 2022 Australian Women in Music Awards. The award ceremony will be held in Brisbane on 17-18 Brisbane. Read more here.
- "a true dream team...a dazzling collection... lushly recorded and extremely accessible... Fasten your seatbelts and hold on."Limelight Magazine, Aug 2016Butterflying, Editor’s Choice
- "Magical. The composer succeeds in creating an enchanting mixture of classical, musical and pop, animated cartoon music and hit numbers"Berliner Morgenpost, 2015
- “Kats-Chernin's characteristic imaginative space might be likened to an old dance, heard in a surreal dream, interrupted by outbursts of outrageousness.”Sydney Morning Herald, 2015
- "vibrant and seductive"The Guardian
- "…This is music full of edge and confidence”The Australian