“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, Zarya Centre for Contemporary Art, Vladivostok, Russia


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 compositional dimension and polymediality (alongside all the associated media) during the process of staging.
[Read Essay]


Marios Joannou Elia at Россия 1

Россия 1

reportage at Russian national television

Elia ‘listened’ today to the commercial sea port. Why did he compare the cacophony of iron, sea and wind with a symphony orchestra, and the sudden solo of our correspondent?” [Read More] [Watch]


Marios Joannou Elia VL.RU Interview


“to hear the city with your heart”

“The composer Marios Joannou Elia, known for his original projects, is now working in Vladivostok. He is preparing the very first of its kind “Sounds of Vladivostok”… [Read Interview]



Marios Joannou Elia, Ambassador in Tourism, Pacific Tourism Alliance, Vladivostok, 2017


city of vladivostok

Elia has been named Cultural Ambassador of the City of Vladivostok. In this interview, he speaks about music and the Amur tiger, the musicality of the harbour, the undiscovered cultural richness in the Far East… [Read Interview] [Watch Interview 1] [Watch Interview 2]



for soprano, tenor, choir, children’s choir and symphony orchestra | Primorskaya Philharmonic 

Commissioned by Primorskaya Regional Philharmonic Society; in honour of the cruiser Varyag and Russia’s Pacific Fleet; dedicated to the City of Vladivostok 

Soloists of Primorskaya Philharmonic and Mariinsky Theatre

Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Academic Choir of Far Eastern Federal University (cond. Elena Petukhova), Conductor – People’s Artist of Russia Anatoliy Smirnov

[Instagram] [Learn More] [Press Article] [TV Spot] 



production phase begins in September 2018

“Sound of Kyoto” is a contemporary audiovisual portrait of the Japanese city. The entire Kyoto is the scenery and the stage on which the music is performed and the city’s voice is heard. Several local institutions take part, like Kyoto City, Kyoto Arts and Culture Foundation and Kyoto Art Centre, as well as international, like De Sisti Italy. Elia composes and directs the entire project, which is currently in pre-production. [Website] [Facebook]


Sound of Kyoto by Marios Joannou Elia




“the world’s first audiovisual portrait of a city” (Interfax Russia)

Founded in 1860 as a military post, Vladivostok, Russia’s gateway to Asia in the Far East, has a turn-of-the-century charm. After it had been cut off from the rest of Russia and the world for decades, to protect the Pacific Fleet, the ending of the Cold War allowed the city to open in 1992.

Ranging from the modern landmark of the city, the Zolotoy Bridge, to the tiny musician’s apartment reminiscent of Soviet era and the Tokarevsky Lighthouse at the end of the world where the land ends and the Japan Sea begins; the entire city is the scenery and the stage on which the music is performed and the city’s voice is heard.

Seasonal changes affect the acoustic and visual scenery of the city, especially from winter to spring. The project’s recordings were made in severe weather conditions of up to -15º Celsius at the frozen surface of Peter the Great Gulf and hazardous situations across the icy sea and at the prow of a moving naval vessel.

A wide variety of musicians take part, amongst others, a theremin player, a rapper, eight conductors and 13 music groups encompassing a symphony orchestra, a brass band, Russian traditional instruments, diverse percussion ensembles and choirs. In addition, recorded sounds that represent the distinctive character of the city are harmonically incorporated into the music. [Website] [Instagram] [Facebook]

Sound of Vladivostok by Marios Joannou Elia


Marios Joannou Elia: Sound of Vladivostok, Navy Snare Drum Squad


Marios Joannou Elia: Sound of Vladivostok, Peter Theremin, Zarya Center for Contemporary Art, Installation: Michiko Tsuda (Photo: Kostis Nikolas)

Marios Joannou Elia: Sound of Vladivostok, FEFU Academic Choir, Elena Petukhova (Photo: Полина Рыжая)


Elia is considered in the music world to be the man for monumental events.

Südwest Presse




Marios Joannou Elia to compose music for the largest Matryomin Ensemble - a Guinness World Record attempt


new work for celebrating the 100th anniversary of Theremin’s invention

The Japanese company Mandarin Electron commissioned Marios Joannou Elia to compose a new work for the ensemble of matryomins. Its first performance will take place on the day of the attempt to establish a new Guinness World Record for the largest ensemble of theremins in the world. Masami Takeuchi and his ensemble are planning to beat their own 2013 world record (272 performers on matryomin). Matryomin is a kind of theremin – a Russian matryoshka, in the case of which the antenna that controls the height of sound is hidden.

The event will be held in Tokyo in 2019 under the leadership of the Japanese virtuoso performer on the theremin and inventor of the matryomin, Masami Takeuchi.
The composition of Marios Joannou Elia will be dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the invention of the theremin, created by the Russian inventor Léon Theremin. It will be also performed at a memorable concert in Tokyo in 2019, under the direction of Masami Takeuchi, with the participation of Léon Theremin’s great-grandson, head of the Russian Theremin School, Peter Theremin. The events are initiated by Mandarin Electron in cooperation with the Japanese Theremin School and Russian Theremin School. [Read More]



keynote speaker & composer in residence  

Elia was composer-in-residence and keynote speaker at the International Symposium of the International Association of Polyaesthetic Education (in Music) (IGPE) which took place at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, Austria, between 29 September and 1 October, 2017. He had been commissioned the opening celebration concert, composed for viola da gamba (Pia Pircher), trumpet (Matthias Schwetz), violin, piano four hands, youth choir (BORG Music School, Vienna), speaking choir (Open Acting Academy, Vienna) and dance ensemble (choreography: Margit Grabmayr-Schönbauer and Peter Beil). Markus Wintersberger was in charge of a 360-degree visualisation concept at the three-storey foyer of FH. St. Polten. Elia collaborated also with the Tokyo Gakugei University. His keynote speech referred to new approaches of music education (virtu.real – aesthetics of the digital). [Learn More]




6 actors, 3 locations, hardware instruments

Elia’s latest Musiktheater “Telenauten”, a commission of the Internationale Gesellschaft für Polyästhetische Erziehung, was premiered at FH. St. Pölten. The work is written for six actors, a hardware ensemble and visual media. 

Wir lernen derzeit gegenüber der elektronischen Hypergeschwindigkeit der Datenverarbeitung auch die Trägheit neu zu schätzen, gegenüber der universellen Beweglichkeit und Veränderbarkeit in den Medienwelten die Widerständigkeit und Unveränderlichkeit des Natürlichen, oder gegenüber dem freien Spiel der Information das Beharren des Konkreten, und gegenüber dem Schweben der Bilder die Massivität der Materie. Im Kontrast zur elektronischen Wiederholbarkeit gewinnt die Einmaligkeit neu an Wert. Die elektronische Omnipräsenz und das Universum der virtuellen Möglichkeiten erzeugen die Sehnsucht nach einer anderen Präsenz, nach der unwiederholbaren Präsenz des hic et nunc, nach dem singulären Ereignis.

With Matthias Stangl, Benjamin Petermichl, Arnold Wilfing, Cornelia Schultz, Johanna Klugsberger, Stefanie Fondi | Libretto: Wolfgang Welsch | Stage Direction: Gerhard Hofbauer | Speaking Choir Training: Colleen Rae Holmes | Hardware Ensemble: Christian Munk | Visualisation: Elena Romenkova | Production: Markus Wintersberger.




Schott Music, Mainz 2017

During the composition of “Strophes” (2003), in which the architectonic features of a high-tech factory influenced various parameters of the work such as the production of sounds, Marios Joannou Elia developed the concept of polymediality. This involved two dimensions: the work-immanent compositional dimension and polymediality in the process of staging. The prefix poly denotes a qualitative paradigm shift; not a quantitative much, but a qualitative, polyaesthetic more.

Written between 2007 and 2010 as a commentary focused on his opera “Die Jagd” (2008) and the orchestral piece “Akanthai” (2009), this book illuminates Elia’s concept of polymediality and, by providing a wealth of examples, how literary sources become an inherent polymedial element of his music. At the same time, the commentary elucidates a series of fundamental aspects of the music, including the model of imitative interaction, the concept of permanent fleetingness, the concept of polyaesthestics, and the question of musico-literary intermediality. [Read] [Buy] [Details] [Schott]


Marios Joannou Elia: The Concept of Polymediality, Schott Music, Mainz, 2017


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]


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

Augsburger Allgemeine



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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