“His proclivity for both monumental and historic performances is well known, but with his latest Project, 32-year-old Marios Joannou Elia, once again, exceeds all limits.”

Salzburger Nachrichten



Marios Joannou Elia, Rokokotheater Schwetzingen (Photo © Horst Hamann)


Encompassing Contemporary Concert Music, Opera, Multimedia and Cultural Events 
Marios Joannou Elia (*1978) has surpassed the customary boundaries of contemporary music to become the first composer whose singular work, the open air multimedia symphony AUTOSYMPHONIC (2010/11), was performed in front of a live audience of 20,000 people, achieving 55 million television viewers and two billion media contacts worldwide. In addition, he served as Artistic Director for this large-scale production. His work encompasses compositions in many diverse genres and backdrops for Opera and Modern Concert including Multimedia and eminent Projects for Cultural Events. The central concept of this work, “The Concept of Polymediality” (2003), is based on a qualitative polymediality that is comprised of two dimensions … the work-immanent composition and polymediality (alongside all the associated media) during the process of staging.
[Read Essay]


Marios Joannou Elia - Interview at German Press Media, April 2015

Marios Joannou Elia's music video "Soliloquy" wins WPV Award of Excellence, Athens

Marios Joannou Elia: Publication-Winter-Heidelberg-Verlag

April 21, 2015


NRW Kultur International

As an expert of the European Capital of Culture initiative, Marios Elia was invited by NRW Kultur International and Goethe Institut to the Ruhr.2010 district in order to exchange ideas with representatives from art and creative economy as well as cultural politics on potentials, perspectives and sustainable impact of the “Capital of Culture”. Among others, high-level discussions took place in Düsseldorf (NRW Ministry of Culture), Gelsenkirchen (Urbane Künste, Ruhrtriennale International Arts Festival), Wuppertal (NRW Kultursekretariat) and Essen (Zollverein).

March 16, 2015


at the WPV Convention Athens

On March 8th, the music video “Soliloquy” directed by Aris Akritidis (protagonist Mia Zalukar) was awarded First Prize and the “Award of Excellence” at the WPV Convention Athens. Elia’s “Soliloquy” was recorded at ORF Studios in Vienna by Kostas Tosidis (guitar). It is included on the CD Album “”Staubzucker – Guitar Music in Ensemble Formations” (Aesthis Records).

February 25, 2015


published by Winter Verlag, Heidelberg

The article “Polymedialität als Konzept” elucidates Elia’s concept of polymediality and its application (with concrete examples). It is published in Thomas Hochradner’s (ed.) book entitled “Zur Ästhetik des Vorläufigen”.

[Buy Book/eBook]


“Monumentalist: Elia is considered in the music scene as the man for monumental events”

Südwest Presse [May 29, 2015]



“Elia is well-known for his extravagant and popular music events”

Augsburger Allgemeine [May 28, 2015]

TEDx Talk


Everything You Know is Wrong | Rialto Theatre, Limassol
How acoustics, sounds and noises influence our everyday life, give value to our experiences and ultimately become a significant paradigm shift in the onset of creativity. The question is not whether you are able to hear but rather whether you are willing to listen. A speech on rediscovering life’s musicality…  [Learn More]  [Watch Talk] 
Marios-Joannou-Elia-TEDx Limassol (Photo © Aris Akritidis)


Marios Joannou Elia Artistic Director of the European Capital of Culture 2017 (Photo © Kostisfilms, London)


pafos 2017 – open air factory
In 2013, the Board of Directors of the Organisation Pafos 2017 had unanimously elected Marios Elia as the Artistic Director of the European Capital of Culture 2017. Elia is the youngest person ever to direct a European Capital of Culture. Pafos 2017 sets up a contemporary Open-Air Factory with its cultural machinery installed mainly outdoors. The motto “Linking Continents, Bridging Cultures” covers a wide range of projects, organized into several production areas such as “Myth and Religion”, “World Travellers” and “Stages of the Future”. 
[Read More]


A group of 120 youths, who received a full-year’s free instruction in drumming in order to allow them to elicit sounds of the automobiles from the event, were chosen from the many casting auditions held in collaboration with the Baden-Wuerttemberg Popular Music Academy.


consisting of 80 vehicles – from classic to modern super cars, busses and trucks
“The world’s first automobile orchestra” 
Deccan Herald of India

In 2010 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the invention of the automobile, Elia created “the world’s first automobile orchestra”. The central theme of the event provided the medium from which the music was generated: The sounds the cars made served as the basis for a nine-movement symphony, written for a large symphony orchestra, a car orchestra, a percussion octet, an adult chorus, a children’s choir and electronics. 

The car orchestra consisted of a selection of 80 cars: classic cars, supercars, racing cars, roadsters, limousines and luxury vehicles, microcars, American cars, pickups, buses and trucks (Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Jaguar, Aero, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Trabant, etc.). 

Marios Joannou Elia casts a Ferrari 458 Italia (Photo © Volker Knobloch)

Marios Joannou Elia records an Audi R8 (Photo © Audio-Technica)

Marios Joannou Elia conducts a rehearsal on an AERO 6218R (Photo © Aesthis Records)

Stage 1/6: Car-castings all over Germany

More than 120 vehicles were evaluated by Marios Joannou Elia within a period of ten months. Each one was separately explored, and all extracted sounds – up to 35 from a single car – were meticulously documented (recorded by a sound engineer, filmed and photographed). During the casting, Elia analysed in great detail, the playing technique, tempo, articulation and loudness of each individual car element to decide which ones could be employed in the performance.

Stage 2/6: Audio recordings in studio
After the car-auditions were completed, Elia evaluated all recorded sounds in a studio. The tone frequencies were also measured. Based on their qualities and individual characteristics, he chose 80 vehicles, including representatives from the entire automobile history. These formed the car orchestra of which approximately 800 car sounds can be found throughout the score. They were recorded in a professional studio which was especially built for this occasion, thus providing aural guidance and parameters to the performers.
Stage 4/6: Rehearsals on every car

The cars were scored either solo (featuring a single car element), and in smaller groups or orchestral tutti. Rehearsals began at first on percussion instruments, then on simulative utensils and finally on the cars themselves. In total 120 youths and 14 professional musicians took part in the one-year preparation process.   

[More about Project]



for guitar quartet
“A performance which one is not likely to forget”
Classical Guitar Magazine (UK)

In STAUBZUCKER (2007), Elia creates an enormous amount of possibilities to provoke specific sounds by employing unusual playing techniques. The score requires 23 percussion instruments to articulate the diversity of required sounds. Additionally the instrumentalists create sounds with their own voice and body by clapping, flipping and rubbing on paper. A hint at the composer’s purpose gives the score: “Since the happily-failed encounter of Odysseus with the sirens, all songs have become ill” (Horkheimer/Adorno). Actually, it is not the destiny of the Greek hero that attracts the composer but the means with which its literary creator Homer causes tension. His own technique of using parallel plots, flashbacks, introductions, perspective and narration changes are the stimuli for which Elia declares are “like powdered sugar (Staubzucker) that can be used for a highly explosive alloy. The sound of the guitars bursts like the ‘diseased’ songs from the sirens”.  [Read More]

Performed by Miscelanea Guitar Quartet, Salzburg (Aesthis Records).




for pop band vocal ensemble, symphony orchestra and choir
“This is neither classical nor popular music, but something new and challenging”
Conductor Johannes Harneit at m:con TV 

According to Elia, polyaesthetics arise out of the polymedial employment of materials which is systematically intended and constructed for the development of the artistic process. In this respect, hybridity is a central aspect of his concept of polymediality. In terms of a musical amalgam, genre-like, it manifests in the confrontation between contemporary classical and popular music. In 2011, commissioned by m:con-mannheim:congress GmbH and the City of Mannheim, Elia composed DER TRAUM (THE DREAM) for symphony orchestra, choir and the German pop music band “Söhne Mannheims”. Xavier Naidoo, Germany’s most prominent soul singer, sang the solo vocals. [Read More]

The piece was performed by Söhne Mannheims, SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra, SWR Vocal Ensemble Stuttgart, Staging: Horst Hamann. 



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