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Beth Anderson, Composer

At the start of the twenty-first century, composer Beth Anderson is one of the most exciting personalities on the American classical music scene, bucking trends of formalism and attempting to make touch with her inner self, tastes and identity in her music.

--David N. Lewis, Assistant Classical Editor, All Music Guide

It sounds like folk music, but from where?

--Laurie Spiegel, composer

A refreshing simplicity without naivete--deeply felt, direct, and yes, beautiful.

--Alan Gillmore, musicologist

Head shot of Beth Anderson Beth Anderson (M.F.A./M.A.) is a critically acclaimed composer of neo-romantic, avant-garde music, text-sound works, and musical theater. Born in Kentucky, she studied primarily in California with John Cage, Terry Riley, Robert Ashley and Larry Austin at Mills College and U.C. Davis. She is a member of Broadcast Musicians Inc. (BMI), the American Composers' Forum, International Alliance of Women in Music, the American Music Center, Poets and Writers andNew York Women Composers. She resides in New York City where she produces Women's Work, a concert series, for Greenwich House Arts.

Find music from Swales and Angles, Quilt Music, Chili Con Tango, and Peachy Keen-O at the iTunes Music Store.

Beth and New York video artist Dmitriy Khavin have created two new videos based on her beautiful Pennyroyal Swale for string quartet. Mr. Khavin matched the music to the magnificent Kentucky landscapes and other photos of James Archambeault. Both videos are now completed and posted on YouTube.

Current Recordings

FEMINAE IN MUSICA recorded by violinist Aleksandra Maslovaric and pianist Tania Fleischer includes BELGIAN TANGO and TALES #1 & #3. Spanning two continents and three centuries of women's music, the CD includes works composed by Lili Boulanger, Barbara Heller, Francesca Lebrun, Aleksandra Maslovaric, and Johanna Senfter. Released December 2007. Available from Amazon

AMERICAN WOMEN: Modern Voices In Piano Music recorded by Nancy Boston includes SEPTEMBER SWALE along with new piano music by American women composers Deussen, Galbraith, Zaimont, Moon and Diemer. Available from CD Baby.

POINTS OF ENTRY:The Laurels Project Vol. I Comment for flute solo (based on a poem by Dorothy Parker) is just out on a Capstone CD (CPS-8759) performed by Nina Assimakopoulos. Available from Amazon.

SONGS IN TRANSIT: An American Expedition Soprano Melanie Mitrano recorded Lullaby (words by Auden) and Beauty Runs Faster (words by the composer) for her new CD is on Capstone CPS-8756. Jonathan Woolf at MusicWeb International says: "...Beauty Runs Faster is ...delicious..." You can hear parts of the songs at:

Quilt Music

QUILT MUSIC American Record Guide Critics' Choice Selection for 2005! On Albany Records (TROY709) this is an all-Beth Anderson CD including the large piano piece, Quilt Music, performed by Joseph Kubera along with three song cycles (Cat Songs, Dreaming Fields, and Harlem Songs) performed by baritone Keith Borden with pianist Johannes Wallmann, and four violin and piano pieces (Belgian Tango, Dr. Blood's Mermaid Lullaby, and Tales #1-2) performed by violinist Ana Milosavljevic, with pianist Terezija Cukrov. There is also a new swale - Cleveland Swale performed by Darren Campbell & Kirsty Matheson, string bass, and Johannes Wallmann, piano. The cover is a photograph of one of Beth's grandmother's crazy quilts. Order from

Swales and Angels

SWALES & ANGELS this all-Beth Anderson CD from New World includes March Swale, Pennyroyal Swale, January Swale, Rosemary Swale, Piano Concerto, New Mexico Swale, and The Angel. It can be ordered from or from Tower Records. The wonderful performers include the Rubio String Quartet, Jessica Marsten, Joseph Kubera, Gary Schneider, Andrew Bolotowsky, David Rozenblatt, Darren Campbell, and Andre Tarantilles. Fanfare Magazine had a review and a feature article about my work in their September/October 2004 issue and this recording has received a lot of positive press.

Peachy Keen-O

PEACHY KEEN-O The all-Beth Anderson CD includes Country Time, Torero Piece (the 7:49 version), Tower of Power, Peachy Keen-O, Ocean Motion Mildew Mind, Yes Sir Ree, I Can't Stand It, Joan and Ode performed by Wharton Tiers, Michael Blair, Kitty Mraw, Ana Perez, Linda Collins, Beth and Marjorie Anderson including text-sound, graphic scores, electro-acoustic, and electronic music on Peachy Keen-O, Pogus 21030-2 CD, 2003
Order from or write Pogus, 50 Ayr Rd., Chester, NY 10918-2409 or go to for more info and to order using Pay Pal. Peachy-Keen-O is available in the Amazon Mp3 store!

Two by Three Net Work (piano solo, Mary Kathleen Earnst, pianist)
Trio: dream in d for violin, cello and piano on Two by Three: Music by Women, North South Recordings, 1998
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Two by Three Minnesota Swale performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony, conducted by Joel Eric Suben on New Music for Orchestra, Opus One, 1995
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Chilli Con Tango

September Swale for mandolin and guitar performed by Daniel Ahlert & Birgit Schwab on Chilli Con Tango, available on Antes/Bella Musica CD 31.9153 To hear some of it, go to Order from

Truth About Love

Lullaby for voice and piano performed by Francis John Vogt & Ginger Yang Hwalek available on Capstone Records CDS-8702 entitled The Truth About Love: music and the poetry of W. H. Auden. Order from

Rhode Island Swale for piano solo performed by Mihai Maniceanu available on a set of 3 CDs documenting the Bucharest Living Music Days from: Dwight Winenger at

About Beth Anderson's Music

Beth Anderson's early work was considered post-Cagian, non-academic; but, more recently, her music has become more lyrical while retaining the cut-up quality of the minimalists. Many of her compositions have been recorded by various artists on different labels.

Her work has received numerous awards and grants including a Copland Fund grant to make a CD on New World, a National Endowment for the Arts grant for career development in music composition, a National Public Radio Satellite Program Development Fund grant for the development of a text-sound radio series entitled POETRY IS MUSIC, several Meet The Composer grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, a Foundation For the Contemporary Performance Arts grant, a National Federation of Music Clubs' Award of Merit for contributions to women in music, a P.S. One/Institute for Art and Urban Resources residency, a ZBS Media grant to support a residency/tape production, an Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award, a Biggerstaff Grant, and an Alumni Fellowship to support her graduate work at Mills College. She has been commisioned by Collegium Musicum Carinthia, the Minnesota Synfonia, the Staten Island Symphony, the Cabrillo Music Festival, the San Francisco Conservatory's New Music Ensemble, the University of the Redlands' New Music Ensemble, the Montclair College Dance Festival, Daniel McCusker & Dancers, and many others.

She served as resident composer at the Chamber Music Conference of the East/Composers' Forum in Bennington, Vermont and was chosen as contemporary competition composer for the 2002 Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition in Kharkov, Ukraine.

Ms. Anderson's publishers include Recital Music, Antes/Bella Musica, and E.M.I/Joshua Corporation/General Music. Several catalogs include her music. The most complete catalog of her work is probably the New York Women Composers, Inc., catalog.

Ms. Anderson is included in many reference works, including The New Grove Dictionary Of American Music, Het Tweede Thema, The New Grove Dictionary Of Opera, The Popular Guide To Women In Music, Contemporary Composers, and The Pandora Guide To Women Composers-British And American. An extensive interview with her is included in the archives of the American Composers Oral History Project at Yale University.

New Performances, Recordings, and Commissions

Performances and recordings of my music and commissions of new music are very welcome.

For more information about Beth Anderson contact Jeffrey James Arts Consulting
Jeffrey James, President
45 Grant Avenue
Farmingdale, NY 11735 USA
Tel & Fax: 516-586-3433


For scores, contact me at:

Performance royalties must be paid to BMI, but the fees are quite low. If the hall has a BMI license, then there's no additional fee. If you have any questions or need a tape of previous performances of a piece, please contact me at


Your Opportunity To Participate

I rely on the generosity of individuals to provide the additional support needed to compose and mount concerts. Your financial support will be of great assistance in ensuring the continued success of my music in future seasons. Your gift will be much appreciated, and it is deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes. Chamber Players International is a non-profit organization, as designated in section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For additional information on gifts, bequests, or gifts of appreciated securities, please contact David Winkler at and please send me email to let me know you are doing this at To make contributions make the check out to Chamber Players International and label it "for Beth Anderson special project" and send to: 120 E 34 St #15L, NY, NY 10016. If your employer has a matching grants program, please include a form!

Miscellany From The Dark Past:

Regarding my childhood, my grandmother could play by ear and she loved to hear me practice and would say after every piece, "That was pretty. Play that one again." She was a booster. I had two women piano teachers who encouraged me to compose--Margie Murphy and Helen Lipscomb. Helen was also a composer and we used part of my lessons for composition.

When I was in high school, I read John Cage's books and fell in love with the ideas and the excitement of the avant garde. My music, as a result, moved over to what has been called post-Cagian, non-academic. That lasted until about 1979 at which point I changed. My music is now quite lyrical, sometimes called neo-Romantic, and full of cut-ups/collage of newly composed materials. Since 1985 I have been composing mostly swales for various instrumental combinations.

A swale is a meadow or a marsh where there is nourishment and moisture and therefore, a rich diversity of plant life. My work, since 1984, has been made from swatches (of newly composed music, rather than found music) which are reminiscent of this diversity. When a horse named Swale won the Kentucky derby several years ago, I discovered the word and have used it extensively. "Pennyroyal Swale", "Rosemary Swale", "January Swale", and "March Swale" for string quartet, "Jasmine Swale" for string trio, "Brass Swale" and" Saturday/Sunday Swale" for brass quintet, "September Swale" for mandolin and guitar, "April Swale" for viola and harpsichord, "Guitar Swale" for guitar duet, "May Swale" for viola solo, "Minnesota Swale" for orchestra, "New Mexico Swale" for chamber ensemble, "August Swale" for woodwind quintet, "Flute Swale", "Rhode Island Swale" for harpsichord, and the recent, "Three Swales" and "Mourning Dove Swale" for string orchestra.

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Copyright 1996-2014 Beth Anderson
Last Updated January 26, 2014