Amos Elkana (b. 1967 in Boston, MA) spent his childhood in Israel, the US and England. He studied guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he also discovered contemporary music while taking lessons with William Thomas McKinley and such jazz legends as Dave Holland and Bob Moses. Elkana continued his studies at Bard College, New York where he earned an MFA in Music and Sound. At Bard he met some of the most influential ‘gurus’ of electronic music – Pauline Oliveros, David Behrman, Richard Teitelbaum, George Lewis, Maryanne Amacher and Larry Polansky to name a few. He also studied composition in Paris, Copenhagen and Germany. Since 1992 he has been living in Tel Aviv.
Amos Elkana has been composing professionally for more than 20 years; his acoustic and electronic works have been performed and recorded around the world. His works have been performed in the US, Europe and Israel by such ensembles and musicians as the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, Musica Nova Consort, Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, Pianist Gabor Csalog, Berlin Saxophone Quartet, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Flautist Yossi Arnheim, The New Israeli Woodwind Quintet, Carmel String Quartet, Akademia String Quartet and ICSQ. Recent commissions include UCSC, Schloss Neuhardenberg, The Jerusalem Symphony, The Berlin Festival, Tel Aviv Municipality, and the Israel Ministry of Education and Culture. Elkana composes concert music for orchestras, ensembles and individual performers as well as music for dance, theatre groups and films. His primary tool for creating electronic music on the computer is PD (Pure Data) by Miller Puckette.
Amos Elkana works with many other musicians, video artists, film makers, poets, choreographers, and visual artists on joint projects. Recent examples include The Age of Anxiety which is a collaborative work between Elkana and the German painter Alexander Polzin, After Hamlet which is a dance/theatre performance with the American choreographer Sommer Ulrickson and Almost which is a documentary film with Israeli director Michal Kaphra.
One of Elkana’s works which has been critically very well-received is Arabic Lessons, a multilingual song cycle for three sopranos and chamber ensemble, setting to music 13 poems by German writer and poet Michael Roes. Commissioned jointly by the Berlin Festival and The Tel Aviv municipality, the work won the 2003 Golden Feather prize for composition.
Alexander Polzin asked me to compose a new piece for the unveiling ceremony of his sculpture of Giordano Bruno in Berlin. In preparation for this work I read a lot about Bruno and tried to find my own connection to the subject. I quickly found out that Bruno was an admirer of the Maharal from Prague and that he always wanted to meet him. It is not written anywhere that the two actually met but it is known that Bruno was in fact in Prague in 1588 at the same time when the Maharal was there. This piece is inspired by the meeting that did (or did not) take place between the two men. In his fiction book Endless Things John Crowley describes such a meeting. And what does all this have to do with me? Well, I am a direct descendant of the Maharal…
Premiered on Mar. 2, 2008 in Berlin by Freyja Gunnlaugsdóttir Dedicated to Alexander Polzin
Eight Flowers are set of eight very short pieces for piano. Each piece was inspired by and named after a certain flower and together they form a bouquet.
The order and number of times in which each of these pieces are played are left to the performer’s discretion. In this way it is as if he/she is arranging the bouquet of flowers to suit his/her own taste. Premiered by Gabor Csalog on June 11, 2006 in Neuhardenberg, Germany, in a festival honoring György Kurtág on his 80th birthday.
Dedicated to György Kurtág