All posts by eliakoussamusic

On “non-integrated music”

I want here to express a mystic idea related to the human nature. In the first weeks of the embryo in the mother’s womb, the audio-vocal apparatus form a unity, voice and ears are one. It is only some weeks later that the hearing shall be distinguished from the voice. This reality makes me believe that the core of what we say, sing or even play has to be one with what we hear; in order to share our voice, it has to be integrated in our inner ear with its full meaning. I thought that the problem of our contemporary world is that we speak a lot superficially without perceiving the effect of our words, and we do a lot of work without reflecting on the consequence of our action. Also, we write what I call “non-integrated music”,  a music we do not listen to inwardly and therefore we do not really know how it influences the listener. If the audio-vocal function is originally one, then it is important to know and be inspired by this reality. It is a great idea to use microtonality in our compositional systems, it would extend our tuning systems, our harmony, as well as our thoughts and imagination, but only externally. Are we integrating this new harmony so that it extends our being? Are we making it a second nature? Can we sing or play it on a string instrument? If we cannot sing or play it, then we cannot hear it and vice versa.

By ©Elia El-Koussa 2020. All rights reserved
From “Upwards in Time”, to be published soon.

The introduction of my new book: Upwards in Time

This introduction is an extract of my future publication, “Upwards in time”, which will be published in the near future, hopefully. I am sharing it here with my public to give a glimpse about this work which deals with my music, focusing on my compositions and the personal experience and message behind them. The ideas and concepts concerning music in general will also be discussed :

“From absurdity to meaning, from night to light, this is the path I am supposed to pursue. The direction is upwards, ascension in music, and time is the material.

From the early days in Lebanon, my music has been my promise of freedom; in the beginning it was the instinctive escape from the severity of the obscure, to the safe side of the pure emotion and the transcending laughter with no guidance or orientation; a pure but wild emotion that carried within it the seeds of a future evolution from the roots upwards through the tree of life; and an explosion of laughter in the face of unbearable heaviness. In that darkness I started to grope, to listen and to move; in that silence: the fight.

And from Lebanon to Berlin where I received my direction, my miracle and message to start watering the seeds, the happy promise of a tree, a tower and a cross. The tree is a cedar, an immortal pine, a root of life growing, to meet its fruit. The tower is on the mountain of Lebanon, the promise of fragrance and holiness, the peak of desire.  And the cross is the heart of man, the Love, the unity and unification of opposites, the silent saint in prayer, and the poet of mysteries. Three seeds of promise that I never knew of their existence until the stems have grown a bit enough to be recognized, recently.

And from Berlin to Weimar, the city of my confrontations, my fears and projections, my emotional intuition, of the start from nothing, of seeking my building blocks in the ruins. There I started the new work of my integrations, my new building. There I started to reflect, to view and correspond. The soul, the subconscious, sounds, nature, laws, angels, identities, symbolism, numbers, structures and proportions, all existing but were still small in the tree of my perception.

And from Weimar to Leipzig, the continuation, the other side, my city of peace, of the sensing intellectual, the scientific builder of stairs of harmonies and letters, of numbers and degrees, of consonance and consciousness, of utopia sometimes, always upwards. There also was the elegy, of that “poet of the roots and mysteries”, the heart of my creation of that time, and the bloom of my success.

And again from Leipzig to Lebanon, to where I started before, the piano and the tradition, and the dream that I start again; the echo of the past and the end of the first cycle, the unifiying circle, Jungian mandala and passage through the first door, Souzenelle’s door of men, adulthood. There started the three comedies of transformations: the thunder of a rebel confronting unaccomplished wildness and anger, the law of a sage taking on loneliness and guilt, and a field of a caregiver holding rejection and sadness, to give them all through the first door, prepare them to the fire of the heart and liver, the promise of a blissful serenity and Love in a new stage of being.

There I once literally believed in my quantum sound particles of the trumpet that travelled in time to my first song to change its root, and everything, past and present… that’s when I failed. But the song and the attempt were the precursors of the night in my name, “Layl”, the carrier of the archetypes and salvation upwards in symbols and sounds.

“Layl”, the confrontation with the universal night is to rise again, night to light, in the mysticism of the three saints of my old earth, upwards again and again; the kabbalistic tree of knowledge, the dancing and whirling blissful towers, and all the creation in beauty and harmony in the middle of the loving field of the vine light, field of the cross.

Then in the fire of the middle I started to burn, with brides and crossing visions, the feminine humanity in “Hagar” or “‘awd”, the eternal dancer universe, with all her stars, galaxies and suns meeting in her, a mother, a matter, who saved victory, who transformed compulsions into an eternal dance of planets and suns. She bore the lion of majesty, the root of the path upwards to the vine light, when the time suspends its flight, when I meet my other half, in that imaginal, the icon, so we share an eye on the narrow gate, and its guardian the eagle of “Wajed”, the finder in intuition, the son, the “John” of my story, the merger of absurdities into existence and the promise of grace and freedom.

This is in my name, and I will rise from that night again, three times. And the six guardians of the two doors, will someday become wings of night, they will fly with “Layl” to the feet of his creator, in ascension, upwards in resurrection.”

By ©Elia Koussa – Unpublished – Copyrighted material – All rights reserved.

A work by Elia Koussa performed by David Danel at Tehran Contemporary Music Festival

A work by Elia Koussa was performed by Czech artist David Danel at Tehran Contemporary Music Festival, on April 26, 2018. It is entitled “Sermon of an ex-statue”.

TCMF is an international event in the fields of contemporary music. It is an independent cultural and artistic event held annually with lectures and performances including experimental and improvisational presentations. It took places this year at the end of April, with musicians from Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany and Poland who attended this year. A total of 130 musicians in 27 ensembles have entered the lineup of the event.

About  “Sermon of an ex-statue” or fdrfh

“fdrfh (shadrafah) was a north Arabian god worshiped for protection and prosperity by the Arab and Aramaean tribes living in and around Palmyra in southern Syria before Islam. In the story “Layl”, written by the composer of this piece a year ago, many of the ex-gods of the arabic and middle eastern region are sought, revived and transformed to archetypes, becoming teachers, reminding other statues of their salvation. fdrfh, as a response to the destroyers (of statues and culture), is the protector or shepherd, given the task for care and help of others, reminding of innocence, compassion, support and honesty, away from the modern concept of safety (spread by the modern “consuming hospitals” (medias, fanatic religions…)).

Elia Koussa

Bassam Saba : the new head of the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music

Congratulations to the new head of the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music, Mr Bassam Saba, wishing him great success in his new mission.

Flashback from his concert at Masrah el Madina, on 30/07/15.
Listen to Uyun Havasi, from Bassam Saba’s concert with April Centrone on Drums and percussion, Abboud Saadi on electric bass and Elia Koussa on the piano, by clicking here.


Piano Concert by Elia Koussa at Pierre Abou Khater USJ – Tue, 6 Feb 2018

You are cordially invited to a Piano Concert given by the composer and pianist Elia Koussa.

In Program: 
The 3 Great B’s : Brahms, Bach, Beethoven.
(check the invitation card for the detailed program).
Date : Tuesday, 6 February 2018.
Time: 8:00 PM 
Place :
Pierre aboukhater theatre, Humanities Campus, Université Saint-Joseph, Damascus Road, Beirut, Lebanon


Concert de Piano du 16-12 sur Libnanews et l’Agenda Culturel

L’annonce du Concert du compositeur Elia Koussa au Centre Culturel Safadi a été publiée sur le site et l’Agenda Culturel, via un texte écrit par Marie-Josée Rizkallah que voici (il peut être lu aussi sur les sites en cliquant ici sur Libnanews ou l’Agenda Culturel) :

Le Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et le Centre Culturel Safadi de Tripoli ont le plaisir d’inviter tous les amateurs de musique classique à un concert d’exception donné par le compositeur et pianiste libanais Elia Koussa, le samedi 16 décembre 2017 à 18h00 précises.

Un programme magistral sera gracieusement présenté au public au cours duquel le brillant musicien du pays des cèdres honorera les trois grands B : Bach, Beethoven et Brahms. Un choix fin de bon aloi, qui délectera les spectateurs et leur permettra de percevoir la maîtrise sensationnelle d’Elia Koussa du répertoire des trois illustres compositeurs allemands.

Le choix de la date n’est cependant pas fortuit puisqu’il coïncide avec la date de naissance de Beethoven qui sera célébré à la fin du concert par la « Sonate pour piano no 32 en ut mineur, opus 111 », son ultime sonate et une de ses dernières œuvres pour le piano, connue spécialement pour la difficulté de sa technique et de sa particularité mystique et visionnaire. Cet hommage sera précédé des « Quatre pièces pour piano, opus 119 » de Brahms, ainsi que de la « Toccata et fugue en ré mineur, BWV 565 » de Bach originellement conçue pour orgue et savamment arrangée pour piano solo par Ferruccio Busoni (programme ci-joint).

À tous les afficionados de pianos et fans des BBB, un seul rendez-vous à Tripoli le 16 décembre, à ne pas râter ! Un autre concert sera donné après les fêtes à Beyrouth, dont les détails seront précisés ultérieurement.

Le parcours musical académique d’Elia Koussa a pris naissance au Liban, et s’est perfectionné en Allemagne où il a côtoyé les sommités dans le domaine de la composition musicale moderne européenne  telles que Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Wolfgang Rihm, Klaus Huber, Reinhard Febel, Reinhard Wolschina, Michael Obst, Helmut Zapf, Wolf Günther Leidel, et Dan Dediu.

Décrochant une Licence en piano du Conservatoire de Beyrouth avec mention excellent, il se rend en Allemagne où il obtient un diplôme en composition de l’Académie de musique Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt à Weimar, puis un master en composition de l’université Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy à Leipzig.

De retour au Liban, Elia Koussa rejoint le Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique à Beyrouth où il enseigne la composition, le piano et la théorie. Il fonde d’ailleurs le département de « Composition de musique contemporaine » au sein de ce même Conservatoire. Il enseigne également à l’Université Notre-Dame (NDU) où il est maître de conférences, ainsi qu’à l’Université Antonine (UA). Détenteur de prix internationaux, dont une mention honorable au prix international de musique pour l’excellence dans la composition (2011), Elia Koussa est en outre lauréat de la Compétition Weimarer Frühjahrstage (2009), et du prix Baerenreiter au festival de musique contemporaine à Weimar (2009). Ses œuvres sont programmées dans des festivals et concerts locaux, européens et américains. Pour plus d’informations sur l’artiste, visitez son site 

Au programme du concert : 

1- Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) 
 "Quatre pièces pour piano", opus 119
 1- Intermezzo opus 119, n. 1 en si mineur
 2- Intermezzo opus 119, n. 2 en mi mineur
 3- Intermezzo opus 119, n. 3 en ut majeur
 4- Intermezzo opus 119, n. 4 en mi bémol majeur

2- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
 "Toccata et fugue en ré mineur, BWV 565" (pour orgue)
 arrangée pour piano solo par Ferruccio Busoni

3- Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)
 « Sonate pour piano no 32 en ut mineur, opus 111 »

David Danel : Elia Koussa, a sensitive mature composer

David Danel, a violinist of Prague Philharmonic and teacher at the University of Ostrava, shared his view/opinion on Elia Koussa’s music and the piece Shdrfh that he played in Prague in summer 2017 :

I value the work of Elia Koussa deeply. For me, his music (as far as I know it) is a perfect example of work of a mature composer who strove and searched for deeply and managed to achieve his own authentic musical style and language. It is a well balanced blend of modern, avant-garde thinking rooted in and inspired by a vast heritage and deep tradition of Lebanese, Middle-East, Arabic music system.

In each piece of Elia, I sense a very sensitive personality aware of the times he was given to live in, as well as a grateful man not rejecting the values and echoes of the past. His thinking is in a good sense (far from a kitch) very musical, yet always striving for complexity, perfection and honesty. No avant-garde clichés nor cheap post-modern effects to be found here. Deeply personal, deeply spiritual (meaning: always searching, open and asking questions), always well crafted instrumentally.

For me, the struggle with the piece Shdrf lies in the complex micro-tonality (difficult for the Middle-European) Elia Koussa is exploring (or using) and also in shaping and connecting many small musical/motivic threads he is weaving throughout the whole piece and presenting it in a wholesome way. With this piece I was and still am being challenged and I want to perform it also at other festivals or venues to bring it to perfection and to learn about the listeners’ perception of Shadrafah.

In the world premiere at the festival of new music Forfest Kromeriz (Czech Republic, EU) the piece itself as well as being a part of whole violin recital had a very good feedback – I was made to come back to the stage (actually to the “front” of baroque rotunda) four times, give an encore and answer many questions from the public/listeners after the concert. I feel privileged to be the dedicatee of the piece and also to be able to premiere “Shdrf – sermon of the ex-statue” by Elia Koussa of Beirut, Lebanon.

Davide Danel

Elia Koussa

Elia Koussa, born in Lebanon in 1979, studied the piano at the Lebanese conservatory and later started his composition studies with Helmut Zapf in Berlin. In 2002 he enrolled at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar where he studied with Reinhard Wolschina, then between 2006 and 2008 continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Leipzig, with Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf.
He received many prizes, among which the composition prize of the “Weimarer Fruehjahrstage” chamber music competition in 2009, and the Baerenreiter prize for his piece “Waves”, played by the Aeolian Trio. He is founder of the Contemporary Music Department at the Lebanese conservatory, and he teaches there, at Notre-Dame University Lebanon and at Antonine University.

Piano Concert – Safadi Cultural Center – 16/12/17

Safadi Cultural Center and the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music
proudly invite you
to a Piano Concert
by Elia Koussa.

Date : December 16, at 6:00 p.m.
Address : Safadi Cultural Center, Maarad, Ramzi Safadi street, Tripoli-Lebanon.


1- Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Four pieces for piano, opus 119

  1. Intermezzo opus 119 no. 1 in B minor
  2. Intermezzo opus 119 no 2 in E minor
  3. Intermezzo opus 119 no. 3 in C major
  4. Rhapsody opus 119 no 4 in E-flat major

2- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 (for organ),

Arranged for solo piano by Ferruccio Busoni.

3- Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Sonata for piano opus 111 in C minor

  1. Maestoso-Allegro con brio ed appassionato
  2. Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile