Chaya Czernowin was born and brought up in Israel. After her studies in Israel, at the age of 25, she continued studying in Germany (DAAD grant), the US, and then was invited to live in Japan (Asahi Shimbun Fellowship and American NEA grant) Tokyo, in Germany (at the Akademie Schloss Solitude) and in Vienna. Her music has been performed throughout the world, by some of the best performers of new music. She has held a professorship at UCSD, and was the first woman to be appointed as a composition professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria (2006-2009), and at Harvard University in (2009 and on) where she has been the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music. Together with Jean-Baptiste Jolly, the director of Akademie Schloss Solitude near Stuttgart and with composer Steven Kazuo Takasugi, she has founded the summer Academy at Schloss Solitude, a biannual course for composers. Takasugi and Czernowin also teach at Tzlil Meudcan, an International course based in Israel founded by Yaron Deutsch of Ensemble Nikel.
Czernowin’s output includes chamber and orchestral music, with and without electronics. Her works were played in most of the significant new music festivals in Europe and also in Japan, Korea, Australia, North and South America. She composed two large scale works for the stage: Pnima...ins Innere (2000, Munich Biennale) which was chosen to be the best premiere of the year by Opernwelt yearly critic survey, and was awarded the Bayerischer Theater Preis, and Adama (2004/5) with Mozart’s Zaide (a commission of Salzburg Festival 2006). She was appointed Artist-in-residence at the Salzburg Festival in 2005/6 and Artist-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival, Switzerland in 2013. Characteristic of her work are the use of metaphor as a means of reaching a sound world which is unfamiliar; the work with noise and physical parameters such as weight, textural surface (as in smoothness or roughness, etc.) to create sonic entities which “live” in a field where perspective and distance change; the inquiry and problematization of the nature of musical energy, musical time, and unfolding; and the shifting of scale and perspective. All these in an attempt of peeling away the layers of the familiar exposing something essential underneath, something which is not yet known.
Chaya Czernowin has received numerous awards for her compositions and grants/residencies as well. She is published by Schott and her music is recorded on Mode records NY, Wergo, Col Legno, Deutsche Gramophon, Neos, Ethos, Telos and Einstein Records. She lives near Boston, with composer Steven Kazuo Takasugi and their son.
As of February 2015