Bridges (2023)

Bridges was commissioned by the Sage Gateshead for premiere with Young Sinfonia and conductor Helen Harrison. It was written in collaboration with the orchestra, incorporating their musical preferences and strengths, and their live improvisations in response to graphic scores for movement 3.
Each movement is inspired by a different bridge across the river Tyne. The High Level Bridge, built in 1849, was the world's first double-decker road and rail bridge. This movement evokes trains and 19th-century romanticism through the lens of recent cinematic film music. 
The Tyne Bridge, built in 1928, is a monumental, iconic green structure which was at the time of its construction the world's longest span bridge. It also involved the first female member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Dorothy Buchanan. Workers had a dangerous task creating this structure, as there was no scaffolding in the river that would have prevented ships passing through. The construction of the centre of this movement is under the control of the conductor, who brings both 'halves of the bridge' together.
The Millenium Bridge, built in 2001, was the world's first tilting bridge of its design. This is the only movement to use an electronic track, which sonically follows the ethereal arc of the bridge, and accompanies the atmospheric improvisations of the orchestra. This movement was written in collaboration with Young Sinfonia, and originated in graphic score improvisation workshops with the ensemble. 

Sonnet 43 (2023)

A miniature for symphony orchestra commissioned for Sounds New and premiered by the CBSO conducted by Clark Rundell in January 2023, as well as being recorded for release by NMC Recordings.


This piece is inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnet 43: How Do I Love Thee'. I previously set this poem in my song cycle 'From the River' for mezzo-soprano and piano, and focused on the overwhelming joy of the text. This time, the 'setting' is effectively a kind of ridiculous narrative and the absurdity of grief is the focus, as the piano alternates between fighting with the orchestra and sinking into reluctant unison.
This composition was commissioned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as part of its Centenary celebrations, with support from the John Feeney Charitable Trust.

Last Breaths (2018)

Commissioned for and premiered on the Glyndebourne Tour 2018 in 'Behind the Curtain', presented by Chris Addison, Last Breaths reimagines Aida's death in the context of her cultural identity. It is an orchestral miniature suitable for a mixture of abilities.

Hypomania (2018)

Composed for a workshop with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as part of the Composers' Hub 2017/18, Hypomania is a ten-minute piece for symphony orchestra that explores mood swings and listlessness.

Turbines (2018)

Composed collaboratively with Glasgow-based community orchestra Merchant Sinfonia, Turbines was the result of Anna's 2017/18 'Adopt A Composer' residency run by Making Music and Sound and Music in association with BBC Radio 3 and with support from the PRS Foundation. The premiere took place at Glasgow City Halls on 17th June 2018 and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in January 2019. Turbines is inspired by the wind turbines surrounding Glasgow, especially those along the train route to Manchester, and is an ode to Scotland's commitment to renewable energy.

Read Anna's blog about Adopt A Composer here

Blog 1: Gaining Momentum in Scotland

Blog 2: Nature Meets Technology

Blog 3: Shaping the Music

Blog 4: The Premiere

Listen to Anna's interview on BBC Radio 3 here

Image by Ian Watson

Three Miniatures (2017)

Composed for a workshop with Het Balletorkest, the orchestra of Dutch National Ballet, conducted by Matthew Rowe in 2017 with mentorship from Tarik O'Regan, these miniatures explore different approaches to orchestration. Read about Anna's connection with Dutch National Ballet here.

Federalizing Zoo (2016)

Originally composed for a workshop with Manchester Camerata, Federalizing Zoo received its world premiere at 2nd Prize at the 'Mozarts of Tomorrow' concert with the Royal Northern Sinfonia in January 2016. It was later performed and recorded by RNCM Wind Ensemble. Federalizing Zoo is the disastrous aftermath  - and an anagram - of Le Nozze di Figaro and incorporates themes from the opera's Overture as well as 'Voi che'.


Read the Review

Definitions (2016)

To the Lighthouse (2015)

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Website © Anna Appleby 2023. Images © Merchant Sinfonia and Alex Gascoine by Ian Watson, choreographer Carolyn Bolton by Roberto Cinconze, Citizens of Nowhere (with choreographer Dane Hurst and dancers Liam Giacuzzo, Alice Laidler, Eleanor Stevenson and Zunnur Sazali) by Pari Naderi and Claire Shovelton, Anna Appleby by Mike Plunkett, Lore Lixenberg and Gweneth Ann Rand by Claire Shovelton and designer Sarah Booth, The Sunday Boys by Guðbjörg Ágústsdóttir, conductor Tom Goff by Anna Appleby, Citizens of Nowhere (with Ann Wilkes, Emma Wheeler and Helen Lacey) by Claire Shovelton.