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. The same year, Elias’s Cello Concerto was given its world première at the BBC Proms with Natalie Clein as soloist.

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 Breathe Another’s Breath and Geranos – is available now on the NMC label.

In April 2021, the Wigmore Hall presented a retrospective of Elias’s smaller chamber oeuvre from early works written in the 70s’ and 80s’ to those wirtten in the last two decades. At the 2021 Music@Malling festival launching in September, Elias’s music will once again been profiled including the first performances of Three Scherzi for violin and piano, and Capriccio for bassoon and string ensemble.




As the 2021 Music@Malling Festival returns to live performances with 15 concerts which will also be available online, it continues to profile the music of Brian Elias which began at last year’s online Festival.

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Hay Music Trust put a spotlight on composer Brian Elias with a film screening, live music and a panel discussion on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 July.

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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."