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Article: Can't stop the music

  • by Jacqui Taffel — © John Fairfax Holdings
  • Source: Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 15 October 2005 - Spectrum pp.4
  • Only 10% of this article's text is displayed below for reference purposes.
    Please contact the copyright holder/source publication to obtain the full article.


Composer Elena Kats-Chernin's astonishing creativity is matched by a prodigious work ethic, writes JACQUI TAFFEL.

When Elena Kats-Chernin opens her front door, one side of her face is swollen and lopsided. The composer has just returned from an emergency session of root canal therapy but insists the interview go ahead. She brushes aside what would send most people scuttling to a dark room, leading the way to the large, bright kitchen of her Coogee home.

The ability to soldier on where others might falter is part of the reason Kats-Chernin has become one of Australia's foremost contemporary composers. She admits it was "probably slightly crazy" to think she could support a family by writing music. "Almost nobody can survive on just being a creative artist."

Yet, in many ways, it wasn't a choice. Music spills out of her and she needs to write it down every day. Her daily routine is "get up, have coffee, go to the piano, write something, email, ...