Collegiate Affiliation

Sivan Cohen Elias is an electroacoustic composer and performer/improviser. She is currently a 2024 ACF McKnight Composer Fellow with the American Composers Forum.

Her work spans the United States, Europe, Israel, and the United Kingdom, where she has received various prestigious international awards, including the 2020 Fromm Foundation commission, winner of the 2016 International Staatstheater Darmstadt Music-Theater Composition Competition; 2012 Akademie Schloss Solitude residency; and 2011 Impuls competition.

Her new album Melting Planets was selected to be released under Innova Recordings label.

Her work is cross-disciplinary, combining modified and digitally extended musical instruments, sound objects, body gestures, and video while exploring social themes of failure, entanglement, and illusion. As noted by The New York Times, Cohen Elias often “deconstructs the instruments themselves” to establish extended sonic environments consisting of multi-layered sonic textures and timbres, composed with puppetry-style performance elements.

Her music has been performed by ensembles and performers internationally, including Klangforum Wien, Winnie Huang, Talea, MusikFabrik, Jack Quartet, and Line Upon Line Percussion, among many others. Her music was broadcast with personal interviews on Austrian, Israeli, and German radio stations and appeared on Israeli television. Festival appearances include RealTime Festival, Darmstadt, Bludenz, Bang on a Can, Wien Modern, Resonant Bodies, and Ultraschall. Her scores are published in the Babelscores online library.

She obtained her B.Ed.Mus and MMus degrees from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, and Tel-Aviv University, respectively, completed post-graduate studies at the School of Music and Performance Arts, Vienna, and earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her main composition advisers during her studies were Chaya Czernowin, Ruben Serioussi, and Steven K. Takasugi.

Since Fall 2022 Cohen Elias has been the Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Technology at the University of Minnesota School of Music. In 2018-2021 she was a Visiting Assistant professor of composition and the director of the Electronic Music Studio at the University of Iowa School of Music. She was also a composition lecturer at Harvard University in 2019 and taught an Electronic Music Performance course at New York University in 2021.

In addition to her extensive classical and contemporary musical education, her background includes piano, and vocal performance training, choir conducting, membership in various bands, and courses in classical Arabic Maqam system, jazz and blues theory, and history. In addition, she has practiced for many years as a dancer and choreographer, as well as in video editing, drawing, and sound sculpture making, and has collaborated with artists from various disciplines worldwide.

Upcoming commissions include a multimedia piece for the UK-based singer/composer-performer Laura Bowler, expected to be premiered at the Sound Festival in Aberdeen in October 2024, and a solo electric guitar and live electronics for the UK-based guitarist Daniel Brew.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • PhD: Music Composition, Harvard University, 05/25/2017
  • Post-Graduate: Composition, School of Music and Performance Arts, Vienna, 2009
  • MMUS: Composition, Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Tel-Aviv University, 2005
  • B.Ed.Mus: Music Education and Composition, Rubin Academy of Music and Dance, 2001


  • Acoustical and Electroacoustic Music Composition
  • Improviser Performer with sound instruments and Electronics
  • Sound and multimedia Artist
  • Sound design software techniques including working with iZotope RX, and Ozone; Field and studio Recording techniques
  • Fixed media with any Digital Audio Workstation, including ProTools, Cubase, Reaper, Abelton Live, Logic Pro, Adobe Audition
  • Graphical programming with Max MSP and Jitter including MC and Gen
  • Classical and contemporary notation and orchestration techniques; Notation and graphical software include Finale, Sibelius, and Adobe Illustrator
  • Video editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, and Final Cut