Shorter bios

Douglas Anderson, composer:

Douglas Anderson is a composer, conductor, educator, and producer who has been active in the New York area for 45 years.  He studied music and psychology at Columbia University, where his three degrees culminated in a doctorate in music composition in 1980.  His professional career began as a jazz musician at the age of 12, and he performed widely in the Eastern U.S. before moving to New York to attend college. He made his professional conducting debut at the Beacon Theater on Broadway, leading the Boston Ballet in a run of Peter and the Wolf (1973).

Dr. Anderson’s compositions include chamber works, orchestral works, concerti, vocal music (including synthesized voice), electronic music, radio drama, jazz, film, and musical theater, as well as many choral arrangements.  Important categories of works include song cycles (My Year, My Life and Cassandra Songs), chamber symphonies (on a CD entitled Douglas Anderson Chamber Symphonies 2, 3, & 4 released on Ravello), and a series of engaging works for solo instruments.

His music has been heard around the world for decades, notably on Voice of America radio abroad, and nationally in radio dramas broadcast on NPR’s The Radio Stage: “Romance Concerto,” “The Sound of Fear Clapping,” and “The King of Jazz”.  He composed music for an Internet ‘opera of blood’ on entitled The Moon Moth.  Theater works include four operas to librettos by Andrew Joffe: Faust Triumphant, Medea in Exile, Through/In, and Antigone Sings.

In 1991 his music was presented in a retrospective concert by the New Renaissance Chamber Artists. His chamber opera Faust Triumphant was premiered in 1995 at the International Faust Festival and was revived in a production in 2016 by the American Chamber Opera Company.  In 2009 he was a guest composer at the Bar Harbor (Maine) Music Festival.  For 2011 he was a featured composer on   For the 2012-13 season he was composer-in-residence for A Potpourri of Song, in Brooklyn, NY.


He is on the faculty of the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY, where he is Professor of Music and was for 14 years Chairman of the Music and Art Department.

Composition teachers include Mario Davidovsky, Harvey Sollberger, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Chou Wen-chung, and Charles Wuorinen.


Douglas Anderson, conductor:

A conductor equally adept with theatrical, vocal, and instrumental music, Douglas K. Anderson has since his debut (with the Boston Ballet in 1973) conducted a great variety of ensembles and over 75 premieres, including the first electronic music opera and the first concerto for steel drum and orchestra. His repertoire includes standard operas, symphonic and choral music, as well as a wide range of unusual works from all eras. His operatic repertoire alone consists of over 100 complete operas conducted in over 400 performances.  Reviews (in national as well as local publications) regularly contain phrases such as “excellently conducted”, “musically polished”, and “eloquent”. He is in regular demand as a guest conductor, and is currently the Conductor of the Downtown Symphony, the Director of the Putnam Chorale, and Conductor of the American Chamber Opera Company.

In 1984 he founded the American Chamber Opera Company, a professional company that performs new and old chamber operas in English.  To date the ACOC has presented 65 productions, including 26 premieres. The company has been featured on local, national, and international radio, including National Public Radio, the Pacifica network, and Voice of America.

With the Downtown Symphony, Douglas Anderson conducts 4 to 5 concerts a season, including an annual Messiah Singalong (since 1988), and an annual opera in concert on the terrace (since 1992).  In 1991 he received a citation from New York City Mayor David Dinkins for “making live symphonic music available to new audiences,” and the orchestra’s 25th annual Messiah Singalong in 2012 led Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to proclaim December 16, 2012 “Downtown Symphony Orchestra Appreciation Day”

Dr. Anderson began his tenure with the Putnam Chorale, in Dec., 2001 conducting acclaimed performances of major choral works in 6-10 performances each year, including annual Pops concerts, Messiah Singalongs, and Summer Sings.

He is currently on the faculty of the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY, where he is a Professor of Music and was for 14 years Chairman of the Music and Art Department.

His conducting teachers have included Neemi Järvi, Carl Bamberger, Richard Lert, Max Rudolf and Howard Shanet.