Anna Appleby (born in Newcastle upon Tyne) is a Manchester-based composer and songwriter. Her contemporary classical and electroacoustic work has been performed all over the world and she continues to compose for orchestras, opera companies, choreographers, new music ensembles, soloists and choirs. She also has a performance alter-ego called Norrisette. Recent premieres include an opera, Drought, for the BBC Philharmonic and an award-winning collaborative youth opera for Glyndebourne, Pay the Piper.


The opera that Anna composed in collaboration with 3 other composers at Glyndebourne for GYO and Psappha won 'Best Opera for Young Audiences' at the international YAM Awards in 2022. Anna is a recipient of the GDST Trailblazer Award (2018, awarded for her career as a composer so far), the Alan Rawsthorne Prize (2016, awarded by the RNCM on graduation), the Rosamond Prize (2015, awarded for her collaboration with poet Merrie Williams), and was a finalist in the RNCM Gold Medal competition (2015). She received 2nd Prize at the Royal Northern Sinfonia's 'Mozarts of Tomorrow' competition in January 2016, when they premiered her piece Federalizing Zoo at the Sage Gateshead.

Collaborations and Commissions

Anna's work has been commissioned by numerous ensembles including Ensemble Klang, The BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, the CBSO, the Piatti Quartet, Riot Ensemble, the Laefer Quartet, The Hermes Experiment, The Sunday Boys, Glyndebourne Youth Opera, and The Royal Northern Sinfonia, working with conductors who champion new music such as Jack Sheen, Helen Harrison, Aaron Holloway-Nahum, Michael Betteridge and Clark Rundell. Soloists who have premiered her work include mezzo-soprano Stephanie Wake-Edwards, saxophonist Amy Green, harpist Eira Lynn Jones, and pianists Jonathan Powell and Clélia Iruzun. 


Anna was rehearsal director and co-producer for her chamber opera-ballet Citizens of Nowhere in 2016/17 and her opera Drought in 2022. Both operas involved close collaboration with singers at RNCM over the course of a year, in which she adapted the work to students' voices while challenging them to learn new techniques. She has collaborated with world-class dance artists such as multi-award-winning choreographer Dane Hurst, with whom she made Citizens of Nowhere. Her experiments in electronic music began at Rambert while creating immersive outdoor installations for the National Theatre River Stage with Carolyn Bolton and the roof of the Southbank Centre with Julie Cunningham and Company.


Anna has an alter-ego called Norrisette: the moniker under which she writes, records, performs and produces electronic music and contemporary songs. Norrisette was born in 2020 and has since performed a solo set on the Nebula stage at Bluedot Festival and numerous headline shows in Manchester, as well as supporting Anna Meredith with the RNCM Festival Orchestra at Manchester International Festival, being featured on BBC 6 Music, and starting a regular music night in collaboration with Industries called FLUFF which is a platform for queer electronic artists. FLUFF was featured in the Guardian for its role in the underground music scene in Manchester.

Anna performing as Norrisette (Andrea Terzuoli, 2023)


Anna was a composer-in-residence at Glyndebourne as part of Balancing the Score (2019-22)She has been the Music Fellow with Rambert Dance Company (2016/17), composer-in-residence with Merchant Sinfonia as part of 'Adopt A Composer' (2017/18), and a member of the 'Composers' Hub' with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (2017/18). 


Anna often works with the arts in a community setting. She has facilitated co-creation and composition workshops with English Touring Opera (2023) and Young Sinfonia (2023). She was Manchester composer in residence with Streetwise Opera (2016/17), for whom she has composed again since, and her work with them featured in US documentary 'Turning Point' in Autumn 2017. She was the artist in residence with Quay Voices (2016/17), with whom she worked collaboratively to create a two-movement piece involving lyrics written by the choir.


Anna was a musician in residence at the Museum of Science and Industry's 'Wonder Materials' exhibition with Brighter Sound Artistic Directors' Series (2016), where she worked with a group of musicians and artists to curate a performance in response to graphene research, with guidance from Anna Meredith. She was a composer in residence with choreographers and dancers at the Cohan Collective (2016), a two-week intensive research period at Middlesex University involving exploration of different musical, choreographic and collaborative practices, which culminated in a further week of research and performance the following year.

Education and Teaching

Anna is a composition tutor and artistic mentor. She has wide experience as a performing arts specialist in primary schools, a private composition and music theory tutor in Manchester and at international summer schools, a workshop leader with young people and adults, and as a mentor. The organisations she has worked with educationally and in workshop settings include Streetwise Opera, Red Note Ensemble, The Sunday Boys, English Touring Opera, Glyndebourne Youth Opera, The BBC Philharmonic, and The Glasshouse International Centre for Music. Anna offers mentoring and tutoring to musicians of all ages, and believes in collaborating with students to empower them to realise their own artistic motivation.


Anna has a PhD in Composition for which her supervisors were composer Emily Howard and poet Michael Symmons-Roberts. She studied for a Masters in Composition with David Horne, Adam Gorb, and Paul Patterson at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, between 2014 and 2016. Between 2011 and 2014 she studied with Martyn Harry at St Hilda's College, Oxford, where she received a First-Class Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.

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