Elia Koussa is a Lebanese composer from Rahbé-Akkar. He started the piano at an early age, and attended the Lebanese National conservatory in Tripoli and Beirut from which he got a degree in piano with merit in 2000. His teachers were Marie Sfeir, Shireen Maalouf and Abdelhak Masri, with whom he also took early theory and composition lessons.
He then travelled in late 2000 to Germany and took piano classes with Dieter Zechlin, and started studying composition with Helmut Zapf.
He joined the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar and obtained a composer’s diploma in 2004 under the direction of Professor Reinhard Woslschina. During this time he met well-known German and international composers, with whom he took master classes, such as Wolfgan Rihm, Reinhard Febel and Dan Dediu. He finished his studies with a Master in Composition in 2008 from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Leipzig, under the direction of Prof. Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf.
Back in Lebanon, Elia Koussa dedicated himself to composition and teaching music. He taught composition, piano and theory of music at the National Conservatory of Music in Beirut in which he started the department of contemporary music composition. He also taught at the University of Notre Dame, where he was a lecturer, as well as the Antonine University, and organized seminars and special training in composition and contemporary music at local cultural institutions.
He has won several international prizes, including an honorable mention at the international music festival for excellent composition in 2011. He won the Weimarer Frühjahrstage Competition in 2009 and the Baerenreiter prize at the Weimar festival of contemporary music in 2009. His works have been programmed at Lebanese, European and American festivals and concerts, and his catalogue includes a range of works for every type of music ensemble: for solo instrument, for chamber orchestras and instrumental ensembles, for orchestra, for vocal music, film music, etc.
Elia Koussa has an avant-garde vision which gives rise to unexpected musical creations, which are outside the beaten tracks and defy conventions. Without denying his origins, he avoids fusion between oriental and western music.
Drawing his inspiration from nature, from physical and psychological phenomena, from traditional and modern Arab literature, from the works of C.G. Jung, and the repertoires of classical and oriental music, he builds his work using his very own and unique contemporary language and techniques, giving priority to an inner search of balance between paradoxes and complementary forces, and the opposition between body and soul, matter and spirit, the visible and the invisible.