Anne McAninch 


Artist Statement

My work is often seen as a musical interpretation of experiences that are inspired by diverse sources such as emotion, nature, space, as well as other disciplines within the humanities (art, literature, etc.). Often, my interpretations evoke imagery which leads the listener to experience the music not only by listening but also a vision in the mind. Like a collage of different perceptions that evolves into a whole picture, I attempt to create an experience that organically unfolds and exposes itself to reconstruct the source of inspiration. Although I am often inspired by external forces, I seek to create an internal response of emotion that may be different for everyone, but also one of retrospective understanding to relate to the musical experience.  With my interest in the rich expressive nature of developing melody, harmony, and color, I am able to make these elements come to life.

I am always looking for new opportunities to collaborate with others. If you are interested, please feel free to reach out via the contact page or emailing me at annemcaninch (@)

Creative Projects 

Currently, I am working on a set of short cello pieces inspired by my time as a guest composer at a music festival in the Adirondacks. The collection is title Melodies of Caroga, and the pieces paint imagery of the atmosphere, experiences, and the people I met while there.

Recently, I finished composing my dissertation, which is a concerto for bassoon and full orchestra. I elected to write this work because many of the concerti composed for bassoon in the last several decades have not included full orchestra; they are for bassoon and chamber orchestra. I feel that it is important to create this work because it is the first concerto for bassoon and full orchestra written in decades resulting in the first concerto written for bassoon in its current state of evolution; leading to many new and unexplored possibilities for the whole orchestra. While a resident fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, I completed work for flute, oboe, violin, and cello, which was inspired by the aspects of space; this work (X-1) explores orchestral color, intense polyrhythmic material as well as the chaos and vastness of space. Also, I was commissioned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s concert band director to write a work for the ensemble (Silver Lining) that I conducted at the premier. Finally, I was commissioned to compose a trio for bassoon, trumpet, and violin (Mountain View), which will be premiered in December 2019 as well as a duet for flute and alto saxophone (out of love, not fear), which was premiered at the 42nd International Saxophone Symposium.

In terms of future creative projects, I am interested in writing a string quartet, which will be titled The Monster Quartet. The genius of this work stems from a summer when I read several works from classical literature followed by an opportunity to have a reading with the JACK Quartet, where they read through some of the preliminary ideas for the work. Finally, I am also interested in writing an octet that is comprised of a string quartet and percussion quartet. The combination of these two groups combined can lead to a vast amount of different combinations of orchestral colors to be explored. I find this project particularly interesting because it stems from my primary research area (orchestration) but also, there is only one piece that uses this instrumentation; it will be an exciting project because of the opportunity to explore a new genre while researching and experimenting with orchestral techniques.

 Research Interests

As a composer, I am immediately attracted to orchestration and orchestral devices used to create interesting and exciting tone colors. I am researching evolving trends in orchestration and the use of extended techniques that have been used by composers over the last 25 to 50 years. My interest in advanced orchestration and extended techniques stem from listening to contemporary music and score study especially works such as Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 8, “Poema Alpestre” by Franco Cesarini, “Ice Fields” by Henry Brant,” “blue cathedral” by Jennifer Higdon, “Black Angels” by George Crumb, “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” by Krzysztof Penderecki, and “Meanwhile” by Stephen Hartke. My interest deepened after discovering the works of Gardner Read (Contemporary Instrumental Techniques, Orchestral Combinations, Thesaurus of Orchestral Devices, etc.) as well as Textures and Timbre: An Orchestrator’s Handbook by Henry Brant. I would like my research in the use of advanced orchestration, use of extended techniques, and score examples to lead to the development of a text of advanced orchestration to be used as a pedagogical tool like The Study of Orchestration by Samuel Adler; this resource would pick up where the Gardner Read texts and Samuel Adler text leave off and explore even more orchestrational possibilities. A text like this could be used in an advanced orchestration class or a composition seminar course on the topic of developing trends in orchestration. If not used in an academic setting, it would be useful as a reference guide for composers. Although a very large subject, a research project like this would provide a valuable pedagogical tool and a starting point to aid the discussion of advanced orchestration while providing examples.