Amos Elkana has been composing professionally for more than 20 years; his works have been performed and recorded all over the world by such ensembles and musicians as the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, Musica Nova Consort, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Pianist Gábor Csalog, Berlin Saxophone Quartet, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Flautist Yossi Arnheim, The New Israeli Woodwind Quintet, Carmel String Quartet, Akademia String Quartet, ICSQ (Israel Contemporary String Quartet) and many more.
Elkana composes concert music for orchestras, ensembles and individual performers as well as music for dance, theatre and films. Recent commissions include University of California SC, Schloss Neuhardenberg, The Jerusalem Symphony, The Berlin Festival, Tel Aviv Municipality, and the Israel Ministry of Education and Culture.
Amos Elkana studied guitar at the Berklee College of Music and Composition at the New England Conservatory of 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 composers of electronic music — Pauline Oliveros, David Behrman, Richard Teitelbaum, George Lewis, Maryanne Amacher and Larry Polansky to name a few. He also studied composition with Michèle Reverdy in Paris, Erik Norby in Copenhagen and master classes with Paul Heinz Dietrich and Edison Denisov in Germany.
Collaborations are an artistic necessity for Amos Elkana, and he works with many other musicians, video artists, poets, choreographers, and visual artists on joint projects.
Many of Elkana’s compositions are written for traditional orchestral instruments, but without the traditional boundaries. They are his attempt to carry the listener’s imagination and senses into new territory. 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 of ACUM, Israel’s Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
In its review of “Arabic Lessons” the English daily Jerusalem Post called it “a perplexing, beguiling 40-minute opus in which the composer challenges the so-called ‘acceptable’ form of the lieder, shattering it and building it anew, as if constructing a new world from its ashes. ... ‘Arabic Lessons’ is one of the most significant works composed in Israel for quite a while.”