Elena Kats-Chernin (2019)

Photo credit: Bruria Hammer

Elena Kats-Chernin AO is an Australian composer, resident in Sydney. Her vibrant and uplifting music has been performed and recorded by all Australian major symphony orchestras as well as internationally, most recently her piece for orchestra Big Rhap in Lyon.

She has written  operas and ballets and her music featured at the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.  Eliza Aria from Meryl Tankard’s ballet  Wild Swans has been recently released by Lang Lang on his Piano Book CD, in a version specially arranged for him by Elena.

Her piece Russian Rag was Max’ theme in the Adam Elliot’s awarded claymation film Mary and Max.

She has received many prestigious prizes such as the Helpmann, Limelight, Sounds Australian, Sydney Theatre Award and the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award.


Her score for her first main stage opera Whiteley, premiered in July at the Sydney Opera Hours, has won critical and public praise, Peter McCallum from Sydney Morning Herald  describing it as a “finely-crafted score of variegated mood, texture, tone and style,….its moments of denuded pointillism, chthonic emptiness, comforting minimalism, bustling tango energy and transcendence”.

Upcoming is a  November premiere of her children’s opera Jim Knopf at the Komische Oper Berlin. In the works is also an opera for Kassel Staatstheater Wind in den Weiden (Wind in the Willows) for premiere in June 2019.  She has been named as one of the judges at the SIPCA 2020.

In the Australia Day honours in 2019 she was distinguished with the Order of Australia Award for her contribution to the Australian music landscape.

Elena Kats-Chernin’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

Biography from May 2019

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