Boosey & Hawkes is delighted to announce the signing of a new publishing contract with Elena Kats-Chernin. Her colourful and dynamic works are programmed internationally by such groups as the Ensemble Modern, Nash Ensemble, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Bang on a Can All Stars, and she has emerged as a leading light on the Australian music scene. The growing worldwide attention reflects her unique cosmopolitan background.
Born in 1957 in the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent, she received intensive training from an early age in both figure skating and music. At the age of 14 she chose music as her career and left her home in the Volga riverside town of Yaroslavl to embark on a course of study at the Moscow Academy. In 1975 her family emigrated to Australia and she had to rapidly acquire a new language to continue her studies. She graduated from the New South Wales Conservatory in 1981 and was awarded a DAAD (German academic exchange) grant to study with Helmut Lachenmann in Hanover. She remained in Germany for 13 years, returning in 1994 to Australia where she now lives in Sydney.
"…[her] music is fresh, rhythmically vital, colourful and humorous…"The Weekend Australian
Kats-Chernin’s music is rhythmically motivated, employs a rich vein of fantasy, and is tinged with the colours of popular music such as tango, ragtime and klezmer. Her orchestration is vivid and clear-cut, and she has developed lively dramatic instincts having worked extensively in the worlds of theatre and film. Her catalogue extends from large-scale works such as the highly successful chamber operas Iphis (1997) and Matricide (1998), with librettos by Richard Toop and Kathleen Mary Fallon respectively, to an ongoing collection of rags for solo piano, which she enjoys writing as ‘therapy’ between the larger projects.
Her most well-known work, and a good introduction to the composer’s blending of rhythmic structure and free-reining spontaneity, is Clocks for ensemble and tape, premiered by Ensemble Modern in 1993. Following her rigorous tutelage under Lachenmann, Kats-Chernin had to rediscover her own voice through over a decade of experimentation in composing for theatre, film and dance. Clocks was the breakthrough piece which secured her return to concert composition. It forms the centre-piece of a CD on the ABC Classics label (456 468-2), and is also the title of a documentary film about the composer by German director Kirsten Winter, which has won awards at a number of prestigious festivals.
"[Clocks is] a major achievement, swerving between smoky cabaret style and Poe-ish nightmare, that has won its own deserved renown." Sydney Morning Herald
"The major work here is Clocks, in which a tocking electronic pulse establishes a sonic grid against which the ensemble - really a small orchestra - presents music of great energy and ebullience, full of roulades and flourishes, as well as a driving determination more closely related to the strictly measured sounds of the clocks themselves." ABC Radio 24 hours
Other notable works by Kats-Chernin include the Concertino for violin (1994), premiered by Ensemble Modern, the ensemble work Cadences, Deviations & Scarlatti (1995) which won a Sounds Australia Award for best composition of the year, and Retonica (1993), a grand orchestral celebration of the multiple tonal meanings generated by a C minor triad.
> Further information on Work: Clocks
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