Brian Elias was born in 1948 in Bombay (now Mumbai), India. He started learning the piano at the age of seven. He was sent to boarding school in the UK in 1961 and went on to study at the Royal College of Music. His breakthrough composition, 'Leyla' was written in commemoration of his sister and is partially inspired by elements of the Kaddish (memorial) prayer. Whilst other pieces of his music are inspired by his Iraqi-Indian heritage he does not define himself as a Jewish Composer.