Ann Callaway - Composer

From the sumptuously-scored Amethyst for soprano and orchestra, inspired by the structure of crystals, to Silvery Blue, a choral setting of an original poem celebrating the seasonal life of a butterfly, to “Descent into the Maelstrom” from Seven Dramatic Episodes, based on writings of Poe, the pervading resonance of the natural world is a consistent theme in the work of composer Ann Callaway. One listener has described her music as “atmospheric and evocative and beautiful at once.”

Callaway began her musical training in Baltimore under Grace Newsom Cushman and continued at Smith College with Alvin Etler. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University , studying with George Crumb, Jack Beeson, and George Edwards. Her compositions have been broadcast on both coasts of the U.S., and she is the subject of a documentary produced by Swedish Radio. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Guild of Organists, and has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Leighton Artist Colony in Banff .

Callaway’s larger works include Concerto for Bass Clarinet, performed by the Seattle Symphony and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony; her tone poem Amethyst, premiered in 1997 by soprano Kati Guerra and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra; and The Work of Sun, excerpts of which have been read by the Berkeley Symphony on its Under Construction series.

Among her chamber pieces are Devachan, written in 1993 for the New York New Music Ensemble and given its West Coast premiere by the San Francisco ensemble Earplay; Seven Dramatic Episodes, tone poems based on the writings of E. A. Poe for flute, cello, piano, and narrator; and Besides This May, settings of poems of E. Dickinson for soprano, flute, and piano. Interpreters of her choral music include The Gregg Smith Singers, Alice Parker’s Melodious Accord, and the Pacific Mozart Ensemble. Callaway’s cycle for soprano, bass, choir, and piano, Songs From the Gardener with texts of R. Tagore, was produced during her stay as Composer-in-Residence for the Berkeley-based chorus Bella Musica; and her organ works Altarpiece and Paraphrasis have been performed by such artists as Thomas Murray, Donald Joyce and John Butt. Callaway has also written solo pieces for flute, viola, contrabass clarinet, and piano. In October 2007, bass Richard Mix premiered her Rilke Songs for bass, clarinet, viola and cello at The Hillside Club in Berkeley, on a Sonic Harvest concert. Two trios were given their premieres in 2008--- The Memory Palace for clarinet, cello, and piano, performed by the Empyrean Ensemble of UC Davis; and Ballade for violin, horn, and piano, commissioned by the San Francisco-based Composers Inc. for a concert celebrating their 25th anniversary season.

Most recently Callaway’s chamber opera, Vladimir in Butterfly Country for soprano, bass, flute, bassoon, piano, and percussion, inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s adventures as a lepidopterist and with a libretto by poet Jaime Robles, was premiered in Berkeley, CA; its first staged production took place in November 2012 at Old First Church in San Francisco.

Callaway’s music is published by Subito Music Corporation, Verona NJ.