Collegiate Affiliation

Sivan Cohen Elias is a composer of acoustic, electroacoustic, and multimedia music, and an improviser-performer. Her work spans the United States, Europe, United Kingdom, and Israel, where she has received various prestigious international awards, fellowships, residencies, commissions, performances, and broadcasts. Her creative work embraces a cross-disciplinary approach specific to each piece. As noted by The New York Times, Cohen Elias often “deconstructs the instruments themselves” to establish extended sonic environments, which frequently include electronic interventions, multilayered sonic textures, and theatrical elements.

Cohen Elias’s music has been performed by ensembles and performers internationally, including soundinitiative, Klangforum Wien, Dal Niente, Talea, MusikFabrik, Jack Quartet, among many others. Her music was broadcast with personal interviews on Austrian, Israeli, and German radio stations. Festival and venue appearances include the Mozart Hall in Vienna, RealTime festival, Darmstadt, Bludenz, Bang on a Can, Wien Modern, and Ultraschall. 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.

In 2018-2021 Sivan Cohen Elias 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 the Electronic Music Performance course at New York University.  Since Fall 2022 she is an Assistant Professor of Composition/Music Technology Emphasis at the University of Minnesota School of Music. Her scores are published by Babelscores.

In addition to her extensive classical and contemporary musical education, her background in music includes piano and singing performance, choir conducting, Classical Arabic Maqam system, jazz and blues theory and history. In addition, she has practiced many years as a dancer and choreographer, as well as in video editing, visual art, and sound sculpture making, as well as collaborating with artists from various disciplines around the world.

2023-24 season plans:

In 2023 she received an Imagine Grant to record an electronic trio album. The music combines uses of Western and African musical instruments, everyday objects, DIY devices and various electronic interventions. The entire 70-minute album is designed to sonically illustrate an image of a world constantly alternating between drought and flood, melting and freezing. The album is expected to be released by April 2024.

She has been commissioned to compose a trio percussion and electronics piece by Texas-based Line Upon Line Percussion trio, expected to be premiered on April 25-26, 2024, in Austin, Texas. Additional commissions include a multimedia piece for the UK based singer/composer Laura Bowler, expected to be premiered at the Sound Festival in Aberdeen in October 2024. 

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