Elektra Kurtis is a violinist and composer of Greek origin, leader of Ensemble Elektra. Now a resident of New York City, she has also lived in Poland, Greece and Finland. Elektra has performed with such notable artists as Lester Bowie, Gerry Mulligan, Paquito d'Rivera, Lionel Hampton, Max Roach, Ray Barreto, Simon Shaheen and Israel “Cachao” Lopez. She has also worked with contemporary composers such as Anthony Davis, John Zorn, Henry Threadgill, Craig Harris and Butch Morris. Most recently Elektra performed as guest artist with a world music group Drum Freaks in Warsaw, Poland, recorded on NAS’s CD (2005), played in the Vision Festival in NYC in 2007 and 2009, as member of Spontaneous River improvisational string ensemble (conduction by Billy Bang 2007 and Jason Hwang 2009) and with Adam Rudolf ‘s Organic Orchestra. In May 2009 in Scarsdale, NY Ms. Kurtis performed works for violin and piano by Witold Lutoslawski.
In 2005 Ms. Kurtis and jazz pianist Sonelius Smith co-founded an improvisational orchestra, the New York Jazz Philharmonic, integrating symphonic and jazz band instrumentation in both contemporary and traditional settings, continuing to build on jazz and classical traditions.
Recordings include Steve Coleman's double CD Genesis &The Opening of the Way (BMG), hip hop artist’s Nas album Hip Hop is Dead. and her own recording, Ensemble Elektra The Book of Time (Milo Records, 2000) and AFROdite’s Smile (MR, 2005)