Composition

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Anne Cawrse
Composition Tutor

Anne Cawrse is an Adelaide based composer of acoustic orchestral, chamber and vocal music. Anne’s music blends soaring, lyrical melodies, dexterous rhythmic interplay and an unpredictably colourful harmonic palette. She is particularly fond of discovering the expressive musical potential hidden within the words of female writers.

Growing up in the small rural town of Freeling in South Australia, Anne moved to Adelaide to pursue studies in composition at the Elder Conservatorium of Music. In 2008 she completed her PhD in Composition under the supervision of Graeme Koehne and Charles Bodman Rae. Anne’s penchant for text setting has made her the most commissioned composer of the award winning Adelaide Chamber Singers (four commissions since 2005) and a highly revered art song composer, with notable performances by Greta Bradman, Emma Horwood, Robert Macfarlane, Kate Macfarlane, Cheryl Pickering and Bethany Hill. She is also highly sought after as an orchestral and chamber music composer, with commissions from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (…and then there was light), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Musaic) the Australian String Quartet (ASME commission, Skittled) the Adelaide Wind Orchestra (Percussion Concerto: Skin Metal Wood) as well as a long standing relationship with Adelaide’s own Zephyr Quartet. Her first opera, Innocence, was developed with the Singular Productions and the State Opera Company of South Australia with support from an Arts SA Major Commission grant.

On Earth As In Heaven received the SA State award at the 2018 APRA/Australian Music Centre Classical Music Awards, and her orchestral work Musaic (composed for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) was a finalist in the 2008 awards. Other meaningful musical collaborations include works for the Plexus Ensemble, guitarist Alex Tsiboulski, pianists Michael Ierace and Leigh Harrold, and percussionist Jamie Adam. A favourite in new music circles in Adelaide, Anne gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of many of the preeminent music organisations in her home town. Alongside the aforementioned groups, she has received multiple commissions from Various People Inc., is a frequent contributor to the chamber music programs of The Firm New Music Concert series, and has been regularly performed by the Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. 

Exciting projects for 2020 include the Australian String Quartet premiere of A Room of Her Own, a new work for string quartet and bowed crotales, and the performance of Suite from Innocence as part of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s She Speaks program, a celebration of works by women composers. Anne is composing for Katie Noonan and the newly formed Australian Vocal Ensemble, and was a recipient of an ABC Fresh Start grant to write a new work for the Benaud Trio.

When she is not composing or teaching theory and composition at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Anne enjoys an idyllic existence by the beach with her husband Andrew and son Oscar. She enjoys good coffee, South Australian red wine, cheese tasting at the Central Markets and—when time permits—getting lost in a good book.