Brian Elias

Winner of two British Composer Awards for his compositions Doubles in 2010 and Electra Mourns in 2013, Brian Elias was born in Bombay to an Iraqi family and moved to England when he was 13.

Introduced to the world of professional music making through attending the Dartington Summer School in the mid 60’s following graduation from the Royal College of Music, Brian Elias studied with Elisabeth Lutyens.

His first orchestra work L’Eylah was premièred at the BBC Proms in 1984, and five years later, the première of his monumental Five Songs to Poems by Irina Ratushinskya secured his reputation as one of Britain’s preeminent composers.  In 1992, Brian Elias was invited by Sir Kenneth MacMillan to collaborate on a new work for the Royal Ballet. The Judas Tree was a resounding success and, in addition to numerous revivals since its première, was performed in autumn 2017 as part of the 25th anniversary of MacMillan’s death.

Brian Elias’s works have been performed extensively by leading orchestras and soloists including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Britten Sinfonia, Psappha Ensemble, Jane Manning, Roderick Williams, Nicholas Daniels, Natalie Clein, Leonard Elschenbroich, and the Jerusalem Quartet. He has taught composition at the Royal Academy of Music and the Purcell School, and his students have included Joby Talbot and Darren Bloom. Brian Elias’s works are published by Chester Music and a recording of his vocal and ensemble works – including Electra Mourns, Meet Me in the Green Glen, Once I did Breather Another’s Breath and Geranos – is available now on the NMC label.

RECENT NEWS

Listen again to Brian Elias in conversation with Deputy Editor Sarah Kirkup reflecting on a lifetime of composing for Gramophone’s podcast series.

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Composer Brian Elias has a new website – click here to read more about his compositions including when he worked with Kenneth MacMillan on the music for his ballet The Judas Tree.

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"In a contemporary music world increasingly full of easygoing crossover and sly ironic games, Brian Elias cuts a figure of old-fashioned musical integrity. He deals with the weightiest topics in a musical language of unabashed expressive intensity."

BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE