Born in Seville in 1973, where she studied German linguistics. She then studied piano and composition in Zaragoza with Teresa Catalán, in Augsburg with John Van Buren, in Düsseldorf with Manfred Trojahn and in Berlin with Hanspeter Kyburz at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. Subsequently she has held fellowships at different institutions including the Ensemble Modern Akademie in Frankfurt. She lives in Berlin.
She is particularly interested in timbral and dramaturgical issues and has a preference for theatrical concepts touching on language, space and music. From these interests emerged in 2007 the music theater Niebla, written in close co-operation with director Matthias Rebstock and produced at the European Centre for the Arts in Dresden Hellerau. Currently she is preparing a new work for the stage: La ciudad de las mentiras, based on texts by Juan Carlos Onetti, following a commission from Gerard Mortier for the Teatro Real Madrid.
She has co-operated notably with ensemble recherche, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Modern, Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart, Ensemble Mosaik, Ensemble emex, Ensemble Taller Sonoro, Ensemble Ascolta, KNM Berlin, Ensemble espai sonor, Vogler-Quartett, Nuremberg Opera, Freiburg Philharmonic and many others.
Her music has been featured at international festivals including Ars Musica in Brussels, Éclat in Stuttgart, MaerzMusik in Berlin, Dresdner Tage der Zeitgenössischer Musik, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, Ultraschall in Berlin, World New Music Festival, Acanthes Metz, Nous Sons Barcelona, Steirischer Herbst in Graz, Musica Viva in Munich and musicadhoy in Madrid. She has won several major awards, including a fellowship at the Academy Schloss Solitude (2008), Salzburg Music Prize (2011) and the Premio Nacional de Música (2010).
Elena Mendoza works to spread the understanding of recent musical languages using e.g. procedures of analysis by listening and offering composition workshops. Since October 2007 she also teaches composition and experimental music at the Universität der Künste Berlin.
A portrait CD with her chamber music was published in 2008 by Kairos, in colaboration with musicadhoy (Madrid) and Deutschlandradio Kultur (Berlin). Another CD with scenes from Niebla and other vocal chamber music works was published by Wergo, Deutschlandradio Kultur and Deutscher Musikrat in 2011.
From 2009, her music is published by Edition Peters.
Selected works: Contextos for trombone and three instruments (2000), Contra-dicción for two violas (2001), Ich bin Du oder der Raub der Futurina, music theatre for children, to a libretto by Wolfgang Willaschek and the composer (2001– 02), Dort, doch, auch, nicht, vielleicht for 13 instruments in five groups (2002–03), Contextos-Juegos for trombone (2003), Three Chamber Pieces for flute, clarinet, violin, viola and percussion (2003), Díptico for clarinet, saxophone, cello, piano and percussion (2003–04), Akt Zeichnung for baritone and ensemble (2005), Niebla, music theatre for author and 10 musicians (2007), Nebelsplitter for piano, violin, viola and cello (2007–08), Fe de erratas for six singers (2008), Grámatica de lo indecible for septet (2008–09), Fragmentos de teatro imaginario, stage work (2009), Salón de espejos for orchestra (2010), Geografías soñadas for clarinet, saxophone and trombone (2011), Relato improbable for accordion and ensemble (2011).