2019 News


2019 is the year of Heart Chamber. This 90-minute opera is an exploration of falling in love, but also the personal and societal pressures which come with it. Heart Chamber will be premiered 15 November 2019 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. See more details here

2019 will also see Irrational premiered by loadbang in March 7th in New York City.

Habekhi [The crying] for a mixed Ensemble of 9 players with a singer and electronics (made with Lukas Nowok at the Experimental Studio) will be premiered by the Ensemble Experimental conducted by Detlef Heussinger at the SWR Freiburg in September.

Once I blinked nothing stayed the same will have its UK premier with the BBC Scottish Orchestra conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.

CD & DVD Releases

2019 will hopefully see the release of a DVD of Infinite now on Wergo with the original cast. The negotiation in regards to text rights are complex, but we do hope for a 2019 release.

Ayre will feature on a CD release by the RIOT Ensemble conducted by Aaron Holloway-Nahum on Huddersfield Contemporary Records.

Adiantum… Etudes in fragility No 1 and 2 will be recorded by Juliet Fraser.

Selected Performances

HIDDEN will travel to Los Angeles (Monday Evening Concerts), and New York (Time:Spans Festival).

Guardian for cello and large orchestra is performed twice in 2019. In Berlin with DSO Berlin, Simone Young and in Ostrava New music days with the festival orchestra and Johannes Kalitzke. conducting. Both performances feature the soloist Severine Ballon.

See a more complete list of performances here


There are several opportunities to study with Chaya this summer:

  • Domaine Forget (Canada), 2–15 June. Apply here [deadline 1 February]

  • SYNTHETIS (Poland), July/August. More details…

  • Ostrava Days (Czech Republic), 12–31 August. Apply here [deadline 1 March]

In addition, Czernowin will have a residency in Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève, Switzerland, in May 2019, and In the Fall, she is invited for a residency for a week at the Institute of Creativity of HKBU in Hong Kong.


2018 News

Prizes, press, and recognition

Czernowin composes the negative beauty of disaster; it is the musical equivalent of Picasso’s “Guernica” or Anselm Kiefer’s “Margarethe.” — Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Chaya’s opera Infinite now (2017) was chosen as a finalist at the London International Opera Awards. Alex Ross chose Infinite now as one of his “Notable Performances and Recordings of 2017” for The New Yorker writing, “Chaya Czernowin’s opera ‘Infinite Now’ tells two harrowing stories in alternation: one, of the chaos and gore of the First World War; the other, of a Chinese woman trapped in a claustrophobic male realm. The merging of the stories has an epiphanic effect, as if a mystery of human misery has been solved.”

The UK premier of Day One: On the Face of the Deep by the LCMF Orchestra and Jack Sheen in December was described by Andrew Clements as “an extraordinary slow-motion eruption of dark orchestral sound” in The Guardian. Rebecca Franks wrote in The Times ($) that “best was Chaya Czernowin’s Day One: On the Face of the Deep, its detailed writing pushing instruments to shuddering, wailing, grunting extremes.”


black flowers was premiered by Ruben Mattia Santorsa at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse.

HIDDEN received its first Russian performances in Moscow and Saint Petersburg in September 2018 with musicians of the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble.

Residencies and teaching

In April, Chaya was a featured composer alongside Enno Poppe at the Frühjahrstagung des Darmstädter Instituts für Neue Musik und Musikerziehung (Germany), which this year was dedicated to experimentation.

Czernowin was the featured composer of the 2018 Time of Music (Musiikin aika) festival in Vitasaari (Finland). HIDDEN, Ayre, and Lovesong were performed on a concert with Christian Karlsen and ICE. The festival as also an academy for composers where Chaya taught.

She was invited as the international guest composer and teacher to Ung Nordisk Musikk (Norway), the oldest new music festival in Norway, which is organized solely by young composers.

Chaya gave the keynote address at the ARTikulationen conference at the Arts University Graz (Austria) titled “Are You a Tracker? Researching Time Over a Lifetime”.

In addition to her regular teaching at Harvard University, Czernowin was an invited teacher at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Canada) and in the International Young Composers Academy (Russia).

Zaïde/Adama (new version with choir)

Knights of the Strange Duo, performed by Yaron Deutsch & Krassimir Sterev

Czernowin introduces Hidden at its Russian premier

2017 News

A new opera

For November 2019 Chaya is starting on a new opera: Heart Chamber.  Deutsche Oper Berlin November 14th 2019.  Heart Chamber is a love story. 


The opera Infinite now was chosen as Premiere of 2017 in a survey of 50 critics by Opernwelt Magazine. It was very meaningful to receive this accolade 17 years after my first opera PNIMA was chosen. In 2018, Infinite now will receive a concertante performance at the NODO opera festival in Ostrava on June 28th. Watch videos and read more about Infinite now →

A new version of the opera Zaïde / Adama was commissioned by the Stadttheater Freiburg, expanding the original (first performed in 2005) with a choir part, written in collaboration with director Ludger Engels, and was performed 5 times in June and July. Zaïde / Adama tackles prejudice and racism, from the perspective of a man and a woman, lovers who come from two opposing cultures. The lovers are driven apart the harsh judgment of the mob and their families, unable to reconcile their cultural difference. The musical confrontation between Mozart and new material was described by Detlef Brandenburg as “fascinating and auratic.”

On the face of the deep, a 10-minute work for large ensemble, was commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the Ensemble intercontemporain. The work forms part of the Bereshit project for which seven composers were asked to compose new pieces dedicated to a day from the Biblical Creation. Matthias Pintscher conducted the premiere performance at the Paris Philharmonie, and a video of the full concert can be viewed on YouTube.

Guardian (30') for cello and orchestra is a co-commission of the Donaueschingen Musiktage and the Rainy Days Festival in Luxembourg. Dedicated to cellist Severine Ballon, Guardian is a multi-layered composition in which the cello is dreaming the orchestra and vice-versa. At times, the cello grows to include the orchestra within its resonant body. The orchestra, at times dreams that it is the cello, or one string only, or even just the tip of the bow. Time compresses and stretches so thin that it becomes a scent rather than a canvas. This scent is an intense color that stains the form, distorting and transforming it. But everything is tenuous and either remains or disappears or is left hanging, so that the form is not a solid building but rather a temporarily structured utterance. The piece lives in an almost impossible continuum, which can be imagined this way: Space – Presence – Nuance – Color – Movement – Gesture – Drama – Song. Usually pieces focus and locate themselves within some of these categories, but rarely try to move and create a field which includes all of them. This piece tries to freely move through them all.

Prizes, press, and recognition

In May, Czernowin was chosen as a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin.

Infinite now was chosen as “Premiere of the Year” in a survey of 50 critics by Opernwelt Magazine.

The CD The Quiet gathered recognition on both sides of the Atlantic, receiving the quarterly German Record Critics’ Award for contemporary music, being nominated by The Boston Globe and by the blog 5:4 as one of the best classical albums of 2016, and being chosen as one of the “top new-music moments of 2016” by WQXR’s Zoe Madonna. Alex Ross named the release as one of the “notable performances and recordings of 2016” and also wrote on his blog, The Rest is Noise, about “Czernowin on CD”.

A concert of HIDDEN with the JACK Quartet at the ICA, Boston, was chosen as one of the best 10 musical events of 2016 by Steve Smith in the Log Journal, and the quartet was featured as a “current obsession” by Alex Ross on WQXR.


In addition to her regular teaching schedule at Harvard University, Czernowin taught and spoke at several courses and residencies in 2017.

Antwerp (Belgium) — Czernowin was keynote speaker at the European Platform for Artistic Research in Music (EPARM). Her address, in the form of an interview tackled the new opera Infinite now.

Ghent (Belgium) — She served as visiting faculty for the Futures of the Contemporary conference at the Orpheus Institute.
Paris (France) — Czernowin was one of the invited composers at Manifeste, organized by IRCAM, including a presentation of Infinite now in its concertante version at the Paris Philharmonie.

New York (USA) — This summer, Czernowin was faculty for the first Earle Brown Music Foundation International Summer Academy at Avaloch Farm Music Institute and in New York City.

Italy — During the fall, Czernowin was a guest for a five-city tour of Italy, visiting Salerno, Rome, Trieste, L'aquila, and Milan, giving presentations of her work at conservatories, teaching, and rehearsing for two concerts with the Quartetto Guadagnini and the mdi ensemble.

Luxembourg — In November, Chaya will visit Luxembourg where her piece Guardian will have its Luxembourgish premiere with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg under Roland Kluttig, with soloist Séverine Ballon at the Rainy Days Festival. Chaya Also taught at the Luxembourg Composition Academy.  


2017 saw the release of two new portrait CDs:

Infinite now, project portrait

Zaïde / Adama trailer, Stadttheater Freiburg

Ensemble intercontemporain, Genesis project

Wintersongs was released on Kairos (0015008KAI). Featuring soloists Kai Wessel and Jeffrey Gavett, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and conductor Steven Schick, the disc weaves together the two cycles Wintersongs and Five Action Sketches.

HIDDEN was released on Wergo (WER 73552), including the premiere recording of the 45-minute string quartet HIDDEN by the JACK Quartet, Carlo Laurenzi, and Jérémie Henrot, and Adiantum Capillus-Veneris: Etudes in Fragility sung by Inbal Hever.

2016 News


Ayre: towed through plumes, thicket, asphalt, sawdust and hazardous air I shall not forget the sound of... was premiered by the Swedish NEO Ensemble conducted by Pierre Andre Valade in Sandoval, Sweden, as a part of a portrait concert where Lovesong, fardanceCLOSE and Seed I and Anea from the Anea Cycle were performed together with pieces of Klaus K. Hübler and Morton Feldman. The concert was on tour in north Sweden in January. The piece will see its U.S. premiere on May 10 performed by ICE, and its German premiere with ensemble recherche, Freiburg, in December.

Knights of the Strange (tutti) for accordion, electric guitar, and a mixed ensemble of 8 instruments, co-commissioned by the Ernst von Siemens Stiftung, Ensemble PHACE, and the LA Phil will see its U.S. premiere on March 1 in the LA Green Umbrella series with Yaron Deutsch, Krassimir Sterev, and players of the LA Phil, conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.

Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, Etudes in fragility for voice and breath III, a commission of Deutschlandfunk and the Ernst von Siemens Stiftung will be performed on April 10 by Inbal Hever at Deutschlandfunk Forum Neue Musik.

Severine Ballon will give the premiere of her arrangement of Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, Etudes in fragility I for cello solo at the Monday evening concert series on March 28th 2016. 


The CD The Quiet won the quarterly German Record Critics' Award Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik

Chaya was awarded the 2016 Heidelberger Kuenstlerinnenpreis, a yearly prize given to a woman composer.
The prize ceremony was on February 24 and the piece White wind waiting, for amplified acoustic guitar and orchestra, will be performed by the Philharmonisches Orchester Heidelberg with Stefan Schmidt (guitar) and Johannes Kalitzke (conductor).


In February, I was in Spain:
6–7 February at the Centro Superior Katarina Gurska (CSKG);
9–10 February at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Aragón;
and 11 February at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castilla la Mancha, Albacete, where Lovesong will be played.

6–7 April I was in residence at the Karlsruhe Musikhochschule.

7–10 April Forum Neuer Musik, Deutschlandfunk Köln, had its yearly edition around the subject “Jewish Identities.”
Chaya gave a talk and had the following pieces performed:

  • The premiere of Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, Etudes in fragility, for voice and breath, III — a commission from Deutschlandfunk and the Ernst von Siemens Stiftung — was given by Inbal Hever, who also performed numbers I and II of the same cycle;

  • HIDDEN was performed by JACK Quartet and IRCAM;

  • and Sahaf by ensemble 20/21.

Both HIDDEN and the Adiantum cycle were also be recorded at the studio of Deutschlandfunk for a new CD to be released by Wergo in 2017 in cooperation with Deutschlandfunk.

12–17 April Chaya's work is the focus of New Perspectives Festival of the Royal College of Music of London. This is be the first large perspective on Czernowin’s work in England, with 2 concerts, a chamber concert and an orchestral concert. 10 pieces played, including White wind waiting, for guitar and large orchestra, and At the fringe of our gaze, for large orchestra. 

May 2nd: a short residency at NYU.

Summer — This year Chayareturned to Tzlil Meudcan (Tel Aviv) in June and to the Darmstadt Ferienkurse in August, where HIDDEN was performed by the Arditti Quartet and IRCAM. HIDDEN was performed in Boston as well at the ICA on April 28th, on the occasion of BU and IRCAM and ICA collaboration. 


Next year Chaya will work on the opera Infinite Now to be completed for performances in Belgium France and Germany in 2017

On 17 June 2017 Freiburg Stadttheater will premiere Zaide/Adama (Adama with Mozart’s Zaide) in a new version with the addition of a choir. The director will be Ludger Engels.


2016 saw the release of a new solo CD, plus a recording of a single piece.

The Quiet on WergoA CD of 5 recent orchestral pieces. The crescendo trilogy: The Quiet, performed by Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra and Brad Lubman; Zohar Iver, with Nikel Ensemble and Bern Philharmonic conducted by Mario Venzago; Esh, with Kai Wessel (soloist), Cottbus Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducted by Evan Christ. And 2 orchestral pieces from the residency at the Lucerne Festival 2013: At the fringe of our gaze, performed by the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim; and White wind waiting, performed by Stefan Schmidt (guitar) and the SWR Orchestra with rançois-Xavier Roth conducting. The CD won the prize of the German Record Critic Award. 

Slow Summer Stay III, for 2 octets will e released on the CD of Wittener Musiktage 015 performed by OENM with Johannes Kalitzke and Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin with Manuel Nawri.


2015 news

A CD of 5 recent orchestral works (2010- 2013) will be released by Wergo in September 2015.

HIDDEN will be performed in Maerzmusik Berlin in collaboration with Kontraklang, on March 24 2015. Performers: JACK and Jeremie Henrot and Carlo Laurenzi- IRCAM. 

The Slow Summer Stay series I- III for 2 octets and for 16 instruments will be performed at Wittener Musiktage on April 25th 2015. Performers OENM with Johannes Kalitzke and Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin with Manuel Nawri. 


A duo for E. guitar and Accordion knights of the strange (solo) written for Yaron Deutsch and Krassimir Sterev, to be premiered on a portrait concert at Gare Du Nord, Basel June 11th 2015. 

Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, Etudes in fragility for voice and breath I - II The first installment will be performed in April 2015 in tel Aviv, and the second installment will be performed at the ARD vocal competition competition in Munich (September 10th 2015 and by Jeff Gavett September 11th 2015 in New York). 

A short Encore piece written for Bamberg Symphoniker will be performed by them in October 2015. 

knights of the strange (tutti) for 10 instruments written for ensemble Phace, with Yaron Deutsch and Krassimir Sterev as soloists playing knights of the strange (solo) which is embedded into the tutti piece. The piece is co-commissioned by LA Philharmonic to be premiered at Wien Modern festival November 20th, 2015 and at the Green Umbrella series on March 1st, 2016 . 


I will have longer residencies of combined teaching/presentations/concerts in the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (January), University of Minnesota (March), and North Texas University (April). I will be composer in residence for the 2015/2016 Festival at the Royal College of Music, London. 


The opera Zaide Adama, fragments, will have a new production at the Freiburg Stadttheater, in the season of 2016/2017 with a new version. 

The Opera INFINITE NOW (temporary name) which will be premiered in April 2017 will be a co commission of Vlaamse opera Antwerp and Ghent, Belgium, Mannheim Stadt Theater, Germany, and IRCAM Paris. It will be a hybrid opera, which will include Materials from World War I and a short story by the Chinese writer Can Xue, Home Coming. Luk Perceval will direct and the piece. Here are first thoughts about the opera: 

In "Front" the story of Remarque is mixed with many letters of soldiers from first world war. We hear voices of Germans, Belgians French and English soldiers but there are no soldiers and no tranches on the stage, just their voices and the stage of our imagination. The soldiers are trapped in a nightmarish situation which seems infinite and they struggle to keep afloat. It is a play of remembrance, but it also speaks of life in its utmost intensity trapped in a state of frozen absurd despair .The play will remain as pure theater which gradually becomes a theater of sung voices.

Homecoming by Can Xue, is a singular particular and personal voice describing in an extremely vital and visceral way arriving at a house as if by a chance and then staying there, even though the heroin would like at first to continue in her journey. The house is build upon an abyss and for many reasons which are real or invented the heroine stays in that house. She came there by chance but this moment of chance has grown into an infinity where the voices of the surrounding slowly dissipate and there is a glimpse of a weary inner peace which is arrived at very gradually and which is only slowly, or perhaps never quite secure. The story will be partly read, and some of it sung. Homecoming is the tactile and extremely vital gravity pulse, which will work for long stretches simultaneously to Front. Together they will create a state of an intense relationship between two kind of imprisonments: the grandiose and absurd memories /nightmares of the war and of being trapped amidst the tranches in Front-- and the portrait of a moment stretched into eternity as the heroin approaches the state of living at the present. However even this state is never stable and only for moments become an oasis from death.


2014 news

2014 was a year where I wrote HIDDEN for string quartet and electronics (45' ) in collaboration with Ircam's RIM Carlo Laurenzi and Jack Quartet , Wintersongs IV for 14 instruments (12') and Wintersongs V, the last installment in the Wintersongs series, for 20 instruments and 2 singers, contra alt and counter tenor (27') and 5 Action sketches, for 2 singers and 5 instruments (b. flute, B. Clarinet, tenor saxophone Tuba and cello) 12'. Hidden was premiered at IRCAM and had a strong and positive reception. There was a radio program with an interview about the piece at Deutschlandfunk, a CD of the piece will be released in 2016 by DeutschlandFunk and Wergo, and various performances are scheduled for 2015/16 for Boston, Koeln and Berlin and Darmstadt Ferienkurse 2016. HIDDEN was the high point of a residency at Manifeste Festival at IRCAM, where I also taught at Manifeste academy. In this video I talk about HIDDEN and about teaching

HIDDEN and Wintersongs IV and V mark a strong change in my work, a change projected by the orchestral works from 2009 on, which found its new territory this year. 

Wintersongs IV V and 5 action sketches were premiered at Miller Theater Portrait concert with ICE, Kai Wessel, Jeff Gavett and conducted by Steven Schick. There was a preview to the concert in the New Yorker by Alex Ross with the lovely title early-frost, and there was also a New York Times review "Suggestions of Secrets beyond the Chaos" by David Allen.

Here is my composer Note for this concert.

“The series Wintersongs Started around 2002. it was a piece of 13 minutes with a septet of low instruments and a lot of noise and electronics. The piece was dark and its vitality halted. The low instruments were moving like the slow search of a plant toward light. As I was writing the piece, a very close friend, Mark Osborn, 33 at the time, died in a terrible and absurd car accident. The piece became a lament. Soon I recognized that Wintersongs I was a very concentrated layer of a larger piece. I wanted to hear the septet without the electronics and reinterpret the instrumental part a new. Three percussions were added and Wintersongs II: Stones was written. It included the same instrumental material of the septet but with some temporal variation and with a new added line of the percussion minus the electronics.

“Still the piece wanted to grow. It was as if the original was a photograph on which I could first paint and then write, and later erase and even glue on diverse media. For the next 9 years from 2004 to 2014 I had a plan to continue and invent new and very different interpretations to Wintersongs. It was a beautiful plan: Wintersongs IV supposed to have high septet coming in, scratching and erasing parts of the original low septet and creating strong tension between the high and fast new material to the slow and low orginal septet. In the last piece, Wintersongs V this very tension was supposed to break and its cracking was to expose a love song, the heart of the whole piece, which was a hidden as an archaeological layer which was discovered only at the end. A beautiful combination of piano cembalo and guitar and 2 singers was added for this layer. In all these reincarnations the original septet would be the basis and it should be present.

“However, the narrative of writing Wintersongs did not pan out as expected. When I came back to Wintersongs in 2014 to compose the last 2 movements, it was after a strong change has taken place in my work, While the instrumental groups stayed the same as they were for the last 10 years, I felt that i can not restrict myself with the narrative of the high contrast and the love song both with the original wintersongs always still there, present. Now, instead of Wintersongs being again a base over which one paints or write, the original septet of the first Wintersongs became a shade of a memory, a threatening memory in Wintersong V and a very poetic and disappearing one in Wintersong IV. The piece has now become an organic plant with layers of growth related but independent: a contemplation about how memory evolves and eludes us.

“In contrast to the Wintersongs series, which is like a mixed dish cooked over a very long time, The 5 action sketches are very spontaneous, quick and focused fragments, which complement Wintersong V in particular and the whole series. Wintersongs V is dedicated to Dieter Schnebel on his 85th birthday in celebration of his music and thinking, and to ICE, with joy and admiration.”

A recent video in Russian about Zaïde / Adama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx12_0cevqI 


December 2013 news

A new opera for 2017! The opera will be developed with director Luk Perceval, in an attempt to create a meaningful dialogue between Music and Theater. This is a commission of Vlaamse Opera Gent Antwerp (and other partners) and it will be related to first world war. 

I am now working on HIDDEN a 40-minute long string quartet with electronics for the JACK Quartet with IRCAM electronics. The musical assistant is Carlo Laurenzi. The premiere will be in June 21 2014 at IRCAM in the framework of ManiFeste festival. 

The year 2014 will see the release of a number of recordings: Lovesong with ensemble Recherche in Wergo, also in Wergo: The Last leaf with Peter Veale on the Musikfabrik edition ; Shu Hai Practices Javelin with Noa Frenkel and the SWR experimental Studio for the 40 years anniversary of the experimental Studio on Neos; Unitel will release a DVD of At the fringe of our gaze with Daniel Barenboim and Diwan Orchestra; Gradual Edge with Christina Meissner and Poul Skjølstrup Larsen; For Violin solo 1981 with Moshe Aharonov; and a portrait CD with orchestral pieces on Wergo (The crescendo trilogy: The quiet with Bayerischer Rundfunk and brad Lubmann ; Zohar Iver with ensemble Nikel and Bern Symphony Orchestra with Mario Venzago, and Esh With Kai Wessel Cottbus Philharmonie and Evan Christ) and the piece White wind waiting with guitarist Stephan Schmidt SWR Freiburg and Francois Xavier Roth. 

I just returned from a residency in Cologne Hochschule where I gave a "Rim Lessung" on my work under the title: Synesthetic music: can the ear see, touch or think? In addition to this I gave a composition masterclass and the pieces While Liquid amber and FardanceCLOSE were played in a concert. 

An additional short residency will take place in Jerusalem Academy of music at Jerusalem University on January 5th. On January 9th I will give a presentation about my work at IRCAM Paris.

A new podcast: an interview by Daniel Vezza in the series Composers Conversations.

Recent Videos

MAIM in Finland, an interview: Lothar Zagroseck and Czernowin are interviewed by Darren Acosta. 


A Pre-concert Interview at the Library of congress, Washington, April 2013, with David Plylar and Anne McLean, on the occasion of the premiere of Slow Summer Stay II: Lakes. First David and Anne interview David Nelson, a percussionist of Orchestra 2001, talking about Crumb. From minute 17 to 50 it is an interview with Czernowin.

Czernowin in Lucerne: A Lucern Festival video


 PNIMA Ins Innere (chamber opera — see details below) a video with some superimposed segments from the Lucern Theater production and with director David Hermann talking about the production.


Latest News

September 10th: the premiere of White Wind Waiting for amplified guitar and large orchestra (also amplified violin) 2013. A 20 minutes duration. Program notes are below:

White Wind Waiting is a piece about waiting. Waiting: time is hovering – there is an expectation and also memory but nothing is actually happening right at the present moment. A lacuna in time when one looks around, noticing the dust – grains slowly floating in the last ray of sun still lingering through the side window…

The piece peels away layer after layer of this notion – in a progression of expectation and memory. But is someone waiting at all? Is someone there at all or is everything and everyone gone already and only the sun ray still lingers through the side window, in a place which has been long abandoned, deserted, forgotten...The orchestra is divided to a few groups and the guitar is closely associated with two hidden twins: the piano and harp and the solo first violinist. The piece is dedicated to Stephan Schmidt and to Mark Sattler with deep gratitude.


August 29th 2013 the premiere of Pnima... ins Innere at the Luzerner theater with Howard Arman conductor, David Hermann, director, and Magdalena Gut costume and stage. Additional shows on Sept 1, 2, 4 6, 8. 

From Pnima in Lucern. Photos by Tanja Dorendorf see additional pictures here.

Recent Portraits

The Boston Globe, October 24 2013, “Chaya Czernowin wants listeners to feel the effects of her music” by David Weininger

Neue Zuercher Zeitung, August 17 2013, “Das schmerzlich Schöne — zum Klingen gebracht” by Marco Frei


Lucerner Zeitung Musik ist fast immer politisch an interview with Simon Bordier.

I care if you listen Dec 2012, 5 questions to Chaya Czernowin by Andrew Tham

El Compositor habla – Ruth Pierto

Chaya Czernowin Artist in Residence at Lucern Festival 2013.

The events start on August 18th. Here is the full list from Schott:

Lucerne Festival Features Composer-in-Residence Chaya Czernowin

As composer-in-residence at the 2013 Lucerne Festival, Chaya Czernowin is honored by several orchestral and chamber performances throughout the summer, including two world premieres and a new production of her chamber opera, Pnima… Inwards.

At the fringe of our gaze, for orchestra and concertino ensemble, was commissioned by the Lucerne Festival and receives its world premiere by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra on August 18 under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. Scored for large orchestra and a separate ensemble of violin, viola, cello, clarinet, piano and percussion, At the fringe of our gaze focuses on a stripping of traditional musical layers that reveals the essential identity of the work underneath. Czernowin elaborates on her process in the piece:

In order to bring the orchestra into my world I decided to start from ‘music’, or what we usually think about as music, with melodies, harmonies, counterpoint etc., and then gradually stop the ‘music’, peeling its layers away so that one suddenly faces what is underneath, what is the undercurrent moving in the air on which it rides, which is where my music really starts. In this sense, the piece is really trying to make the foreign familiar. Indeed it does it to such extent that the familiar ‘music’ becomes estranged in the middle of the piece … because the music of the ‘underneath’ was really put in the middle of the field of our attention.

On August 29, the Lucerne Festival offers a new production as well as the national premiere of Pnima… Inwards, Czernowin’s chamber opera for four vocal soloists, instrumental soloists and string orchestra. The production, which runs through September 8, (Aug. 29th Sept. 1, 2, 4, 6, 8) features the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and soloists of the Lucerne Theater conducted by Howard Arman with direction by David Hermann and stage design by Magdalena Gut.

In a program on September 10, the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra offers the world premiere of White Wind Waiting, a concerto for guitar and orchestra conducted by François-Xavier Roth and featuring guitarist Stephan Schmidt as soloist. The program also includes Ivan Wyschnegradsky "Arc-en-Ciel" für sechs Klaviere im Zwölfteltonabstand op. 37, Georg Friedrich Haas’s Limited Approximations for six microtonally-tuned pianos and orchestra as well as György Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto for 13 instrumentalists.

Additional events dedicated to Czernowin’s music include a performance of Anea Crystal by the JACK Quartet and Quatuor Diotima, (August 24 at 11.00) as well as Lovesong performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain, (Aug. 18) Sheva by Ensemble Ascolta, (Sept 6) and a portrait concert featuring AfatsimDie KreuzungManoalchadiaSahaffardanceCLOSE, and Czernowin’s recent Slow Summer Stay No. 1: Lakes (Sept 14).

The full Concert of Diwan orchetsra, which includes the premiere of Saed Haddad's Que la lumière soit and music by Verdi and Wagner, in addition to the premiere of At the fringe of our gaze will be broadcast live on TV please see here and here. After the premiere in Lucern the orchestra will present the piece again on August 22 at the Musikfest Stuttgart; and the Austrian premiere will follow on 24 August at the Salzburg Festival.


At the fringe of our gaze was written for Daniel Barenboim and the Divan orchestra. This played an important roll in the way in which it came into being. I heard the orchestra and Daniel Barenboim in rehearsals and was deeply impressed by the energy of the players, but the way they related to Barenboim and how the rehearsal was conducted, from the music, on the music and into the music, not too much text. I also got a sense of the young musicians, brilliant, and many of them seemed not very different from the musicians who were studying with me at the time I was studying at the Tel Aviv academy – very sensitive musicians to whom new music might be something a bit foreign. I wanted to write something which will open the door for them into my world. I wanted them to be persuaded, brought into my world in a way which will enable them to experience it from the inside. This was one of my first impulses, growing directly from the rehearsal, wishing to have these young people on my side, musically. This is a rare impulse in my compositional world: in fact a lot of what I have done in the past was meant to conceal my music from the ears of others.

In order to bring the orchestra into my world I decided to start from 'music', or what we usually think about as music, with melodies, harmonies, counterpoint etc, and then gradually stop the 'music', peeling its layers away so that one suddenly faces what is underneath, what is the undercurrent moving in the air on which it rides, which is where my music really starts.
In this sense, the piece is really trying to make the foreign familiar. Indeed it does it to such extent that the familiar 'music' becomes estranged in the middle of the piece...because the music of the 'underneath' was really put in the middle of the field of our attention. Thus, the foreign became close and acquainted with and what was in the fringe has moved to the center of our attention. These are two processes which has strong political resonances.

The piece is one movement of about 21 minutes, but there are titles to the various segments of the piece: music I / underneath / unmoveable I / horizon I / music II / unmoveable II / Horizon II

The soloists are not soloists in the regular meaning of the word. They are like the fringe of the fringe: when we listen to the orchestral material which is then in focus and we look at its very strange and elusive features, there is still something further away, tucked at the edge of where we can hear, and this is the material of the soloists, which strangely enough does show some 'musical' characteristics. However in Horizon I which has only one pitch, a vast field is open, like a place which is so huge and empty, so that one can see for miles, (maybe something like a stretch of a huge flat beach and people with their presences and feelings are not yet? anymore? there). Sometime that which is tucked away at the very edge of our attention is the very thing which ends up having the strongest effect on the shape of things to come. 

 White Wind Waiting is a piece about waiting. Waiting: time is hovering – there is an expectation and also memory but nothing is actually happening right at the present moment. A lacuna in time when one looks around, noticing the dust – grains slowly floating in the last ray of sun still lingering through the side window...

The piece peels away layer after layer of this notion – in a progression of expectation and memory. But is someone waiting at all? Is someone there at all or is everything and everyone gone already and only the sun ray still lingers through the side window, in a place which has been long abandoned, deserted, forgotten...The orchestra is divided to a few groups and the guitar is closely associated with two hidden twins: the piano and harp and the solo first violinist. The piece is dedicated to Stephan Schmidt and to Mark Sattler with deep gratitude. 


Rega, sheket bevakasha ani rotze lomar dvar ma (Hebrew. In English: Just a moment, silence please, I would like to say something). Text Nathan Zach
For Choir and orchestra 2012 Premiere: 20.6. 2013 Leipzig Bachfest performed by Vocal consort Leipzig and Leipzig Sinfonietta. Conductor Felix Bender. Preparation of the choir: Gregor Meyer. Schott Music

Slow Summer Stay I: Lakes performed by Orchestra 2001 conductor: James D. Freeman. Premiere: May 3rd 2013 in the Library of Congress.