Constantine Koukias

Constantine Koukias (born 14 October 1965) is a Tasmanian composer and opera director of Greek ancestry based in Amsterdam, where he is known by his Greek name of Konstantin Koukias. He is the co-founder and artistic director of IHOS Music Theatre and Opera, which was established in 1990 in Tasmania's capital city, Hobart.

Koukias's works range from large-scale music theatre and opera to mobile installation art events. His atmospheric compositions are characterised by mesmerising temporal, spatial and production designs, while his recent works exhibit eastern influences.[1] His avant-garde approach to the presentation of opera has resulted in hybrid productions such as Days and Nights with Christ,[2][3] To Traverse Water, Mikrovion, The Divine Kiss, Tesla – Lightning in His Hand and The Barbarians.[4][5] His music theatre works include ICON, Kimisis – Falling Asleep, Borders, Orfeo, Rapture – Sonic Taxi Performance, Schwa – The Neutral Vowel, Antigone and The Da Ponte Project.

Koukias was commissioned in 1993 by the Sydney Opera House Trust to compose the large-scale music theatre piece ICON to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House. His Incantation II for soprano and digital delay won the International Valentino Bucchi Vocal Prize in Rome in 1997,[6] and in 2004 he was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship.[1]

Prayer Bells, in which the composer draws on traditions of Latin, Hebrew and Byzantine chant,[7] had its US premiere in 2010 at the Chicago Cultural Center.[8]

The Barbarians, which was commissioned by the Museum of Old and New Art and inspired by Constantine Cavafy's poem Waiting for the Barbarians, premiered in Hobart in 2012 as part of the MONA FOMA festival.[9] It was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best New Opera[10] the same year, and Tasmanian company Liminal Spaces won the Event category of Australia's Interior Design Excellence Awards for its conceptualisation of the production's design.[11]

In 2014, Kimisis – Falling Asleep had its Netherlands premiere at Splendor Amsterdam and toured to the Karavaan Festival.[12]

His work Three Episodes from the Diary of Signaller Peter Ellis was a winner of ABC radio's Gallipoli Centenary Composer Competition, receiving its national broadcast premiere in 2015.[13]

Koukias has been the recipient of numerous other international commissions and awards, and his design credits include the internationally acclaimed Odyssey and Medea.[6]


Koukias studied at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

List of worksEdit


Music theatreEdit

  • 1999: Rapture – Sonic Taxi Performance, for solo voices, small chorus and ensemble
  • 2001: Spirits of the Hoist, for three solo voices, ensemble and tape
  • 2002: Schwa – The Neutral Vowel, for two solo voices and tape


  • 1993: ICON, for grand orchestra, antiphonal choir (80 voices), 8 percussionists and tape; premiered on the steps of the Sydney Opera House
  • 2003: Within a Prayer at Lamplighting, for orchestra; commissioned by the China National Symphony Orchestra
  • 2004: Ancient Immortal Spirit, for orchestra and mezzo-soprano soloist; premiered by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Choral worksEdit

  • 2001: Prayer Bells – PENTEKOSTARION, for 3 solo chanters and male choirs with hand bells[7]
  • TROPARION 1 – 'O 'Gladsome Light' , for mixed girls voices with river stones and digital delay; sung in Greek, text from the Divine Liturgy
  • TROPARION 2 – 'Only-begotten Son' , for solo countertenor and male choir (treble, tenor, baritone and basses) with river stones, sung in Greek, text from the Divine Liturgy

Chamber musicEdit

  • 1983: Requiescat, for solo soprano
  • 1985: Echoi 1 – Incantation, for soprano and digital delay
  • 1986: Echoi 2 – Byzantine Images, for amplified flute and digital delay
  • 2003: 1000 Door, A Thousand Windows, for soprano and video projection
  • 2003: Seven Veils, for piano and video projection

Notable studentsEdit

In addition to his own career as a composer, Koukias has mentored numerous other composers including Matthew Dewey, Michael Lampard and Thanapoom Sirichang.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Constantine Koukias : Represented Artist Profile". Australian Music Centre. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  2. ^ Kerry, Gordon 2009, New Classical Music: Composing Australia, UNSW Press, Sydney
  3. ^ RealTime 2000, In Repertoire: A Selected Guide to Australian Music Theatre, Australia Council
  4. ^ a b "Barbarians : opera by Constantine Koukias : Work". Australian Music Centre. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b "The Barbarians | ArtsHub Australia". 23 January 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Greek Festival of Sydney 2004". 29 September 2002. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b "New Light on Liturgy - The Spirit of Things - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Prayer Bells IHOS Opera". YouTube. 2 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Greek poet becomes a Greek opera". Neos Kosmos. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Past nominees and winners". Helpmann Awards. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  11. ^ "IDEA 2012 winners revealed". Australian Design Review. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Speciale aanbieding festival Karavaan | Actueel | Het Park - Schouwburg Hoorn". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Gallipoli Centenary Composer Competition winners announced |". Retrieved 9 September 2015.