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Elena Kats-Chernin : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Twenty-five measures : for clarinet in B flat by Elena Kats-Chernin, from the CD Tilting at infinity


Photo of Elena Kats-Chernin

Elena Kats–Chernin studied music in Moscow, Sydney and Hanover (in Germany), where her composition teacher was Helmut Lachenmann, this study made possible through DAAD scholarship. In 1996, she received the Sounds Australian Award as well as the Jean Bogan Memorial Prize. Her music featured at the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Olympic Games and the 2003 Rugby World Cup. In 2004, she was awarded Green Room and Helpmann Awards for the ballet score Wild Swans, choreographed by Meryl Tankard for the Australian Ballet. In the same year, she was awarded an Ian Potter Commission. She received a two–year Fellowship from the Australia Council in 2005.

A CD containing the concert suite Wild Swans for wordless soprano (Jane Sheldon) and orchestra (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra) was released by ABC Classics in 2005. In 2007, the piece Eliza Aria from this CD was used in a series of animated TV commercials for Lloyds TSB in the United Kingdom and became extremely popular. It reached the top spots in the iTunes classical charts, was remixed by DJ Mark Brown (among others) and made into a pop song 'The Journey Continues'.

Kats–Chernin's recent premieres and performances include the following:

In December 2006, Purple Silence for four horns was premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Horn section as part of Sir Simon Rattle's 'Music and Dance' project in Stadium Arena in Berlin.

In February 2007, Elena Kats Chernin wrote a 4–minute Our Bridge Overture for Sydney Symphony Orchestra and conductor Simon Kenway to celebrate Sydney Harbour Bridge's 75th Anniversary on the 18th March 2008.

In April 2007 Village Idiot for 12 instruments was premiered by Present Music in Milwaukee, USA.

In June 2007, Bruce Petty's animation/documentary (mixed media) film Global Haywire with Elena Kats–Chernin's music was premiered at the Sydney Film Festival.

In July 2007, Phoenix Story was premiered by twin cellists, the Ng Brothers, in Adelaide Town Hall. It was recorded for Melba Records, and the CD was released in June 2008.

In July 2007, The Uninvited Stranger with a text by Sandy Jeffs was performed by Sydney Philharmonia Choirs/Brett Wymark.

In November 2007, Kats–Chernin's birthday concert was presented at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith, played by Sydney Omega Ensemble and broadcast live on ABC Classic FM. For this occasion, she wrote a piece Slow Down Lady for Sydney Omega Ensemble, commissioned by Father Arthur Bridge.

In September 2007, Displaced Dances, a 30–minute work for piano solo and orchestra in 12 movements was performed by Stephanie McCallum and Sydney Symphony Orchestra at Sydney Opera House, conducted by Martyn Brabbins. The piece was originally premiered in 2000 by the the Queensland Orchestra in Brisbane, with the same soloist.

In February 2008, Elena Kats–Chernin wrote the music soundtrack for the 70–minute documentary film Bootcake. The film, about Indian fans and impersonators of Charlie Chaplin, is directed by Kathryn Millard.

A concerto for basset clarinet and small orchestra, Ornamental Air for the British virtuoso Michael Collins was premiered to critical and public acclaim in April 2008 in USA by North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Grant Llewellyn. In May 2008, it received its UK premiere by the City of London Sinfonia, conducted by Richard Hickox.

On 16th April 2008, Jane Sheldon and the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed the Wild Swans Suite at the Royal Festival Hall in London, conducted by Stephen Barlow.

On 18th May 2008, the SBS Youth Orchestra presented Australian Premiere of Wild Swans Suite at the Verbruggen Hall at Sydney Conservatorium, with Simone Easthope, soprano and Matthew Krel, conductor.

Elena Kats–Chernin is currently completing a piece titled Calliope Dreaming for the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt, for a project called Dedicated2Haydn. Seven CDs of her music have been released so far: Clocks (ABC Classics 1997), Unceremonious Processions (Wergo, Germany, 2000) , Purple Black & Blues, (Tall Poppies 1999), Wild Swans (ABC Classics 2005), Ragtime & Blue (Signum Records, UK, 2005), Chamber of Horrors (Tall Poppies 2006), Slow Food (Tall Poppies 2008)

Elena Kats–Chernin's music is represented by Boosey & Hawkes.


Biography provided by the composer — current to July 2008

Teacher/Influence on

Peggy Polias (2003 - current)

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Beaver blaze : chamber ensemble Commissioned by Betty Beaver.
Interludes and rags : chamber ensemble Commissioned by 2MBS-FM Radio (Sydney).
Birthday miniature : chamber ensemble Written in honour of the Australia Ensemble's 30th season
Obsidian Light : full orchestra Commissioned by Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Vocalise (solo piano) Commissioned for the Mental Health Institute in Melbourne
Wisdom circles : cello solo Commissioned in 2009 for Felix Bocher's 70th birthday.

Analysis & Media

Book: Women of note : the rise of Australian women composers / Rosalind Appleby.

Kit: Inventing Elena : the music of Elena Kats-Chernin / music resource kit by Mark Grandison

Kit: Clocks : the music of Elena Kats-Chernin / devised by Stephen Lalor.

- Article: Regaining lost composure.

- Document: Profile -Rita Williams talks with composer Elena Kats-Chernin, equally at home writing for the concert hall and for the theatre.

- Program note: Elena Kats-Chernin's "Clocks"

- Article: Knowing the score

- Article: Can't stop the music

- Article: Notable Success

- Article: Sound of music for Sunday's silent stars

- Article: Performers sound out line-up for music festival

- Article: Elena's music is all remarkably composed

- Article: Women of note

- Program note: Gone with the Waltz

- Review: M for Murder The Song Company 20,21 June 1997

- Review: M for Murder The Song Company 20, 21 June 1997

- Review: The Song Company Viewing 30 May 1999