Official Homepage of Anna Cazurra

Anna Cazurra


Anna Cazurra Composer, Musicologist, Music Professor


Licentiated in History of Art (1988)

Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (Spain)

Licenciated in Classic Dance (1983)

Royal Academy of Dance of London (in Barcelona)

Ph D. in Musicology (1993)

Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona

Studies of Piano and Violin (1972- 1988)

Conservatorio Superior Municipal de Música de Barcelona (Spain)

Licenciated as Professor Superior of Harmony, Composition and orchestration (1998)

Conservatorio Superior Municipal de Música de Barcelona

Licenciated as Professor Superior of Musical Pedagogy (2000)

Conservatorio Superior Municipal de Música de Barcelona


Grant Holder by the Spanish Government to do the PhD (1989- 1992)

University Autónoma of Barcelona

Holder of a Postdoctoral Grant by the Spanish Government (1993- 1994)

University of Walles Colege of Cardiff (United Kingdom)

Professor of Music and Musicology (1995- 2000)

University Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona

Visiting Professor and Scholar (2001- 2002)

Holder of the award “Distinció de la Generalitat de Catalunya per a la Promoció de la Recerca Universitària” (a recognition for the university and investigative work made)

University of Barcelona

Visiting Professor (2003- 2004)

City University of New York, Fundation for Iberian Music

Professor of Musicology (2003-2009)

University Catholic of Valencia “San Vicente Mártir”

Professor of Composition and Orchestration (2003-2009)

Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castellón (Valencia)

Tenured Professor of Musicology (2009-Present)

University of Tarragona “Rovira i Virgili”

Collaborations as a Professor of Musicology in PhD Programs (2009-Present)

University Catholic of Valencia “San Vicente Mártir”

Professor of Composition and Orchestration (2010-Present)

Conservatorio Superior de Música de València

Biography and Work

Initially Anna Cazurra began her music training at the prestigious Music Conservatory of Barcelona in Spain where she studied piano and violin—later delving into composition and orchestration under the guidance of the Spanish composer Josep Soler. She earned degrees of Profesora Superior—roughly equivalent to a Master’s Degree in the United States—in both composition and instrumentation as well as in music pedagogy. Simultaneously, she embarked on musicological studies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona where, in 1988, she earned her Licenciatura or “Bachelor’s Degree” in Art History. The Spanish government then granted her a highly coveted four-year scholarship, the Formación de Personal Investigador (Graduate School Scholarship for Individual Research), to help subsidize and support her work on her doctoral dissertation. She eventually obtained her doctorate in musicology in 1992, specializing in music of the Spanish Baroque. In 1993 the Spanish government once again bestowed upon her yet another grant, this time a post-doctoral fellowship that enabled her to move to the United Kingdom in order to pursue her music research and collaborate on projects at Cardiff University in Wales. Subsequently, she was drawn back to Spain in 1995, sponsored by a Reincorporación de Doctores grant intended to attract Spanish professionals back to their homeland. She was hired as a professor and researcher at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Since then, her teaching and research have been in high demand, and she has collaborated with many institutions and professionals, such as the International Center for Ancient Music (directed by the renowned viola de gamba virtuoso Jordi Savall), the Music Festival of Cadaqués, the Winchester International Early Music Festival, etc.

Several prestigious musical institutions have commissioned her musical works, and both her musical compositions and her musicological activities have earned her recognition and acclaim, both nationally and abroad. She has won major prizes and awards, such as the Frederic Mompou Young Musicians Prize (in 1995 and 1998), the Caixa de Sabadell Foundation Prize, the Provincial Government of Catalonia Award of Distinction for the Promotion of University Research, and the like. Through the years, she has been actively involved in national and international music festivals. Her compositional output—much of which has been published and recorded on CDs—includes works for piano, chamber ensembles, voice, orchestra, and staged musical theater.

In parallel with her creative activity, her interest in the historical reconstruction of Iberian music and the recovery of the musical repertoire of Spanish composers has led her to be part of a variety of musicological research projects. She has delivered papers and presented her research findings in a variety of international congresses and seminars such as: the conference Music in Spain during the Eighteenth Century in Cardiff, Wales; The Sixth Biennial Conference on Baroque Music in Edinburgh, Scotland; Music in Art—Iconography as a Source for Music History in New York, USA; The Ninth Conference of the Research Center for Music Iconography; the Second Conference on Musical Iconography held in Ravenna, Italy; and the like. She frequently gives lectures and teaches classes at many Spanish universities, exploring various aspects of history and musical aesthetics. She is a widely published author, having written numerous books and articles that have appeared in the most highly regarded international musicological journals.

Career Highlights

In June, 2001, the Provincial Government of Catalonia honored her by conferring upon her the Distinción de la Generalitat de Catalunya in recognition of her professional career and accomplishments. The award is one of Spain’s highest honors—both culturally and economically—with the magnificent award ceremony taking place in the opulent Palau de la Generalitat de Barcelona (the Palace of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia). In this same year, the University of Barcelona hired her to serve as a professor in order to initiate new lines of musicological research, centered primarily on the recovery and recuperation of Spain’s rich musical patrimony from the period of Spanish Nationalism (represented by such iconic figures as Falla, Albéniz, Granados, Pedrell, etc.). Her experiences at this institution produced two resultant outcomes—but of a contrary and opposite nature. On the positive side, she was able to gather around her a group of young researchers with enormous potential, and with them she achieved laudable results. On the negative side, however, she experienced first-hand the defects of the Spanish university system, personally having to confront and endure a multitude of injurious problems. (Fortunately, now the Spanish system is gradually overcoming these issues, thanks to its efforts to integrate itself into the European university framework as spelled out by the guidelines of the Treaty of Bologna.) Personal jealousies, nepotistic favoritism, and other unprofessional improprieties caused such direct suffering that ultimately she felt compelled to renounce the final year of the award’s financial benefits. This experience was the germinal seed that caused her to write her comic opera El Farsante (“The Sham”), Op. 37—a rollicking and witty farce that pokes irreverent fun at academic pomposity, scholarly nepotism, and duplicitous deception. Its concluding scene is an infectious quartet in which the characters are “unmasked,” revealing a shocking and hysterical “truth” before an astonished public. In addition to composing an ingenious and pleasing musical score that leads the way dramatically, she also created the libretto, scenery, costumes, and conceptual design.

The second stage in Anna Cazurra’s career began in 2003, when she was named Composer-Scholar in Residence at the City University of New York (CUNY): in that year they organized a concert devoted exclusively to her orchestral works. From that point onward, she has been collaborating with New York University as author and editor for the magazine Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography. Also, in that year she composed two of her most endearing works: the String Quartet No. 1, Opus 7; and Atlántida, Opus 16, for piano and string orchestra. The quartet has been performed on numerous occasions and broadcast on the radio. Atlántida had its fetching premiere in the foyer of the Teatre de Liceu de Barcelona, a building emblematic and representative of “Modernism”—a style generally acknowledged to be a “golden age” in the history of Catalan music and art.

Having set foot in the New World, she made her debut as a composer in one of the most prestigious concert halls of the world—Carnegie Hall. This occurred quite recently, in October of 2009. On that auspicious occasion, the piano virtuoso Adam Kent from New York premiered several pieces from her piano suite Hesperia, Opus 5, eliciting an exuberant public response. The previous year he had performed one of the Hesperia’s movements, “Mediterrànea,” in the Instituto Cervantes in New York. The year 2009 proved to be a fruitful one for Dr. Cazurra yet again, for in October she obtained a professorship at the University of Tarragona.

Presently, she shares her teaching responsibilities between the University of Tarragona, where she is a profesor titular (the rank of professor appointed to the fulltime faculty) and the Superior Conservatory of Music of in Valencia, where she is a catedrática (a level roughly equivalent to “endowed chair” or “department head” in the USA), teaching both composition and musicological research. She teaches doctoral classes at the Catholic University of Valencia, where she is directing a research project— funded by the Generalitat de Valencia (Provincial Government of Valencia)—that is delving into the musical historiography of Valencia between 1880 and 1939.


As a musicologist, Dr. Cazurra’s interests venture into three general areas of research: Spanish Baroque music; Catalan music from the Modernist Period (the first quarter of the twentieth century); and music iconography as realized in the symbols of traditional Catalan culture.


As a composer, Anna Cazurra has produced works—some of which have been recorded and released on compact discs—in a wide spectrum of genres and musical resources, including piano music, chamber music, vocal music, symphonic music, and staged dramatic works. Her artistic aesthetic tends toward a language with tonal roots but treated with nonrestrictive freedom and enriched by elements from other cultural systems, far removed from European classical traditions. Her fascination with other cultures has induced her to assimilate aspects of folkloric or refined traditions from other countries.

Her work bears a strong biographical stamp, as a consequence of that inquisitive and anxious spirit that spurs her on to investigate, to experience, and to experiment. One could say that she cultivates three types of musical style: one of them would be linked to the style called “postmodernism”; another is steeped in irony; and yet another could be called “contemporary” without necessarily being “experimental.”

I. Postmodernism

The first of these compositional styles, the one that we would say is linked to the music of “postmodernism,” is one in which folkloric music can fuse together with novel, new techniques—but without losing referential links to the traditional tonal system cultivated in the west (a tonality amplified, enriched, or utilized in a free manner). This stylistic language, in turn, follows two different paths: one of a more “Spanish” nature, and the other of a more international bent. As a Spaniard, Anna Cazurra has shown an interest in the traditional music of her country, teeming with Hispano-Arabic influences on one side and with Mediterranean influences on another. Examples of her works with a Hispano-Arabic flavor include: her three Evora Suites for string orchestra or string quintet (Opus 2, Opus 3, and Opus 6, respectively); the piano suite Hesperia, Opus 5 (with the movements “Azahara,” “El basar,” “Crepuscle,” and “Mediterrània”); the chamber work Yasirah, Opus 10, for either clarinet or saxophone plus piano; Xiomara, Opus 15, for violin and piano; Kalonize, Opus 12, for wind quintet; and Sinfonia núm. 1, Opus 35, for full orchestra. In any case, one would say that the vast majority of Anna Cazurra’s works that she has composed up to this point follow this aesthetic. Within the more Mediterranean tradition, she has written works exhibiting observable influences of the Catalan composer Frederic Mompou de Mompou, such as her Quatre Evocacions, Opus 8 (with the movements “L’ocell melangiós,” “Tonada,” “Jocs de Platja,” and “Gitano”)—a composition whose merits resulted in it being awarded the Composition Prize “Frederic Mompou” in 1995.

This postmodern vision of music has caused her to incorporate elements springing from other musical cultures. For example, one that has influenced her the most—for reasons that are partially biographical due to a period in her life when she was in close contact with musicians from Buenos Aires—is the music of the tango. Some examples of works that evoke the tango include: Atlántida for piano and string orchestra, Opus 5; Alborada, also for piano and string orchestra; Escenas porteñas for solo clarinet or saxophone; and Tres canciones sobre poemas de Alfonsina Storni for voice and piano, Opus 36, comprised of the individual songs, “El Clamor,” “Invitación,” and “El Sol.” Other folk music traditions that have captivated her and that have left their mark in her musical output are Caribbean rhythms, the habanera, Brazilian music (as reflected in her Suite sinfónica for piano and orchestra, Opus 34), and music from the Central European Gypsy tradition that is inextricably linked to Arabic-Sephardic music of her native Spain (as is evidenced in her piano works Ioann Ardevarul or El éxtrasis de Keira, Opus 23). She feels right at home and is most in her element with those musical trends that make “roundtrip” journeys that seem to “go away and come back again”—that is to say, of Spanish music sprouted from Hispanic roots that then blends together with Arabic influences, indigenous American traditions, or African-American music that was birthed in the New World by African slaves. Her artistic comfort with these cultural blends arises precisely because of the bonding link that they share in common, in spite of the separate paths that each of them took as they evolved.

II. Musical “Irony”

The second aesthetic trend in Anna Cazurra’s music is typified by irony. Here, all types of external elements can crop up and intervene—but are transfigured and parodied. Generally speaking, it deals with music possessing a strong dose of mocking satire or biting social condemnation. We find an example of this style in her aforementioned comic opera El Farsante, Opus 37, written for four vocalists and orchestra. The comic opera’s humorous libretto exhibits a strong autobiographical tint. During the course of the work, one encounters two distinct compositional styles that are distributed throughout the two acts. One could be labeled “Neo-Baroque,” and its old-fashioned (but transformed) sonorities perfectly reflect the plot line that revolves around the “discovery” of a preposterous and fictitious instrument—the violicémbalo (or harpsi-cello-chord)—that supposedly flourished at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The other main style found in El Farsante features parody: for example, we run across a disfigured habanera in a comic allusion to musical numbers drawn straight from the operas of Rossini.

III. “Contemporary” Style

In the third stylistic trend, the harmonic elaboration and treatment of the various musical parameters (such as melody, rhythm, or instrumentation) could be regarded as being in sync with the present-day world in which we actually live—that is, they are more “contemporary.” Several of Anna Cazurra’s works fall within the orbit of this style, but they exhibit a sense of harmonic control that is far removed from the spirit of pure experimentalism. Some examples include: the String Quartet No. 1, Opus 7; the brass quintet Petit Poema, Opus 1 (the first of Cazurra’s works to capture a composition prize and the first work in which she delved into the idiomatic possibilities of brass instruments); Esmirna, Opus 25, for violin, cello, and piano; Cantic, Opus 11, for clarinet, violin, and cello; and Quan no hi siguis, Opus 24, for flute, oboe, and piano.

Selected Reviews

String Quartet No. 1, Opus 7

Anna Cazurra’s first string quartet was premiered in November of 2002 by the soloists of the Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona (City Orchestra of Barcelona). In a critique written by Jorge de Persia and published in La Vanguardia on 13 November, 2002, he states:

In the performance, Anna Cazurra’s String Quartet No. 1, Opus 7 (1992) was also premiered, a work exhibiting evocative resources; an attractive treatment of sonorities; corporeal substance and all-enveloping effects; warmth in the second movement with lyrical phrases that search for their harmonic context; inspired counterpoint in the third movement; and a very musical character to the fourth movement—an insistent waltz that establishes a skillful, dramatic dialogue. In short, really good music!


Owing to the premiere of Atlántida that took place in June, 2006, the musicologist Joaquim Icart, Endowed Chair at the University of Tarragona, wrote out the following remarks:

[This is] music full of impassioned lyricism with an expressive power that knows how to free itself from commonplace clichés. With a language that is liberating, daring, and capable of overcoming any kind of formal straightjacket, it knows how to give unity to an idea that is full of feelings—whether those feelings be similar or opposing in nature. All of this, in order to offer us a few minutes of contemplation of human experiences by means of [its] sounds.


The suite Hesperia was performed in its totality for the first time in the Auditorio de Tarragona (the Tarragona Performing Arts Center). Owing to this particular performance in February of 2010, the musicologist Joaquim Icart wrote:

An excellent piano composition. With its superb contrapuntal texture, it impregnates the expressive and melancholy dramatic quality of the theme with a power and dynamism that is full of optimism—thanks to the richness of the voices in which one voice will prop up and support the others in order to achieve a beautiful emotional fullness.

Always open to new languages and new fields of composition, Anna Cazurra has just embarked on her newest adventure—her first work for big band. The next new challenge she hopes to embrace will be film music, a field that greatly attracts her and one that affords her new avenues for artistic exploration.

Craig Russell

Musicologist and composer

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