Elektra Kurtis and Ensemble Elektra
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Elektra Kurtis and Ensemble Elektra

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Jazz World


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"Elektra Kurtis and Ensemble Elektra / AFROdite's Smile"

Kurtis’ supple sound is reminiscent of Scarlet Rivera in its passion and diversity.

She blends a world full of gorgeous sounds together in a provocative and sometimes rebelliously dissonant, but always engaging, CD.
- Anne Brodie, May 2006

"Ensemble Elektra, The Book of Time"

“A real world music in which its creators reach to tradition, but express it in a very contemporary way.”
- Cosmopolitan Magazine - Poland 2000

"Ensemble Elektra , The Book of Time"

“…..quite rewarding music with a mixture of musical styles. Elektra Kurtis being clearly a dominant force but backed by great musicians makes the results splendid.” - Jazz at a glance – jazz notes,

"Elektra Kurtis, The Book of Time"

“Elektra Kurtis uses her musical diversity to her advantage…her music seems like a multi – cultural extension of Elektra herself & a most interesting one at that.” - Eer –Music.com

"Elektra Kurtis, AFROdite's Smile 2005"

“Profound yearning, ecstatic wailing and an aching beauty – in a rather original context.” - E.J. Janelli ~ music reporter for All about Jazz

"Elektra Kurtis, AFROdite's Smile 2006"

“Elektra Kurtis’ music has a distinct and unique commercial appeal. It can best be described as a weave of International instruments and flavors with a dash of genre versatility. They have created, as a team; a new age meets old world sound.”

- Danie Cortese ~ President / CEO Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity Inc.

"Ensemble Elektra The Book of Time 2004"

“There’s a buzz going on for this local sensation…..that have a fine, exotic and refreshing Mediterranean vibe.” - Downtown Music Gallery


Released in January 2010 Cutting Through
AFROdite's Smile 2005 Milo Records
The Book of Time 2000 Milo Records
Live in 1997



I live in New York City and play violin in a variety of music styles: classical, jazz, avant-garde, hip-hop, rock, Latin, Greek and Arabic. I stay happy this way. In my compositions, I weave sounds I hear in New YorkÕs neighborhoods into the music I know from my childhood and from my music studies.

I came to New York from Greece, Poland and Finland and I constantly discover how close music traditions are. When asked what style I compose in I decided to call this music ÒWorld JazzÓ.

I spent my childhood in Warsaw, Poland where I was part of a Greek community of refugees and a student of classical violin. Greek music was my first love, especially the folk from Epirus and the clarinet playing style, and the melismatic ÒeasternÓ sounding songs called Rebetika. They were outlawed in Greece at the time because of the lyrics - very existentialistic Ð like the American blues my brother listened to with his friends. My older brother and I listened to the music he brought home: jazz, blues, free jazz, Tibetan monks, Bulgarian Chorus, Indian Ragas, etc. He inspired me to build my knowledge and my own unique musical vocabulary.

First I played mandolin and piano. When I was 12 I fell in love with the violin. It took my parents a while to agree, but soon I had a violin and was practicing like a maniac to catch up with what I missed starting ÒlateÓ in music school. I was a bit of an outcast, my listening preferences were odd to my classmates: Greek folk, jazz, Bartok, Stravinsky, avant-garde and most contemporary classical music at the time: Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Cage, etc. I was never happy playing only one style of music.

At 16 I joined in my brotherÕs world music group Yia Sou. This was far before the term Òworld musicÓexisted.

I am a violinist and composer of Greek origin, leader of world fusion group Ensemble Elektra and a string trio Chamber Ensembles. I graduated from Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland in 1986, majoring in violin performance and education and from the School for Strings Suzuki Teachers Course in New York (in 1988). I lived in Poland, Greece and Finland. Now a resident of New York City, I am a faculty at the Harlem School of the Arts and at Hoff Barthelsson School of Music, and work as a freelance violinist in the New YorkÕs tri state area.
I have played with numerous symphony orchestras, most recently: Connecticut Grand Opera and Orchestra, Bronx Symphony Orchestra, New England Symphonic Ensemble and Harlem Festival Orchestra. I have also performed with such notable jazz and world artists as Lester Bowie, Gerry Mulligan, Paquito d'Rivera, Lionel Hampton, Max Roach, Ray Barreto, Simon Shaheen and Israel ÒCachaoÓ Lopez. I have worked with contemporary composers such as Anthony Davis, John Zorn, Henry Threadgill and Craig Harris. In 1997 I recorded with Steve Coleman.
Most recently I played for SerenaÕs Middle Eastern dance company production in New York CityÕs Pantheon Theatre, Henry ThreadgillÕs Agregation Orb performance at the Miller Theater in New York City and as guest with Drum Freaks group lead by Milo Kurtis in Warsaw, Poland. In November 2006 I recorded for NasÕ CDÓHip Hop is DeadÓ on Deaf Jam Records.
My CDs with Ensemble Elektra: AFROditeÕs Smile (2005) and The Book of Time (2000) and Cutting Through (2010) on Milo Records are available on Cd Baby