Playing the flute in the New Hampshire Youth Orchestra as a teenager was a formative experience for Anna Weesner, nourishing a love of music that started early with Suzuki method violin lessons at the age of five. Composition was a natural discovery in high school and college for the daughter of a fiction writer and a music teacher. Anna maintains a lifelong relationship with the radio and the presets in her car are heavy on pop. Her recent output includes a set of songs called My Mother in Love, commissioned by Cygnus Ensemble for which she wrote music and text, and The Eight Lost Songs of Orlando Underground for clarinet quintet, commissioned and premiered by the Lark Quartet with Romie de Guise-Langlois. Winner of a 2019 Independence Foundation Grant, the 2018 Virgil Thomson Award in Vocal Music as well as an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is also the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2003 Pew Fellowship in the Arts. She has been in residence at MacDowell, the Virginia Center, Weekend of Chamber Music, Songfest, Seal Bay Festival, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and Civitella Ranieri. Her music has been performed widely, including by Cygnus Ensemble with Tony Arnold, the Daedalus Quartet, the Lark Quartet, the Cypress Quartet, the Cassatt Quartet, Prism Saxophone Quartet, Dolce Suono Ensemble, Peggy Pearson and Winsor Music, Counter)Induction, Dawn Upshaw and Richard Goode, Eighth Blackbird, Network for New Music, Orchestra 2001, the American Composers Orchestra and the Riverside Symphony, and has been featured at Tanglewood, the Look and Listen Festival, and the Portland Chamber Music Festival, among others. She studied at Yale (B.A.) and Cornell (D.M.A.) and is Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Headshot (photo credit: Kate Raines)