Chaya Czernowin was born in 1957 and raised in Israel. Since the age of 25, she has lived in Germany, Japan, and the USA. Thanks to various scholarships and prizes Czernowin was able to concentrate on forming her own musical language and thought.
Her first solo CD, Afatsim, which summorized her chamber work from 1988-96, was released by Mode Records (mode 77) in 1999. In 2000 her opera, PNIMA…ins innere was premiered at the Munich Biennale to strong audience and critical acclaim. A non-linear experience, sonically and emotionally intense in its non-operatic sparseness, PNIMA deals with the question of the impossibility of communicating an ungraspable traumatic experience, in this case the Jewish holocaust. PNIMA was chosen for the best premier of 2000 by Opernwelt and won the Bayerische Theater Preis in 2000.
Chaya Czernowin has taught composition at the Yoshiro Irino Institute, JML, Tokyo, Japan and at the Darmstadt Summer Courses in 1990 through 1998, where she won the Kranichstein Music Award in 1992. In 2004, she led numerous master classes. Since 1997 she has been professor of composition at the University of California, San Diego. Beginning Fall 2006 she will start her tenure as a composition professor at the University of Performing Art and Music in Vienna. Since 2003 she has been directing the biennial International Summer Academy for Young Composers at Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany. She was a guest professor in Gothenborg, Sweden (March 2005), and at Harvard (Winter semester 2005).
Her music has been performed at more than 25 festivals all over the world: 20th-Century Music Festival in Mexico, Wien Modern, Musica Nova Helsinki, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Asia Pacific Triennial (Australia), Huddersfield, Ultraschall, and Ars Musica, among others. In 2004 Czernowin has been appointed composer-in-residence at the Dresden Contemporary Music Festival. Adama, her compository supplement for Mozart’s opera Zaide, will be performed in August 2006 at the Salzburg Festival, where she was composer in residence in 2005.
Recent awards include: Siemens Music Foundation (2003), and 2004 Award of the Rockefeller Foundation for a portrait concert in New York.