Our Conductor

Douglas Anderson


Douglas Anderson is a conductor, composer, educator, and producer who has been active in the New York area for more than 40 years. He studied music and psychology at Columbia University, where he received three degrees culminating in a doctorate in music composition in 1980. He made his professional conducting debut at the Beacon Theater on Broadway, leading the Boston Ballet (with narrator Cyril Ritchard) in a run of Peter and the Wolf (1973), and since his debut has conducted a variety of ensembles and over 75 world premieres, including the first electronic music opera and the first concerto for steel drum and orchestra. His musicianship and talent as a conductor has been recognized by performers, audiences, and critics alike; rave reviews (in national and 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 the Executive Director and Conductor of the American Chamber Opera Company.  He was recently named the Music Director of the Chapel Concerts at Murray Hill/Kips Bay.

In 1984 he founded the American Chamber Opera Company, a professional company that performs new and old chamber operas in English. Under his musical and administrative direction, the ACOC has grown into an internationally recognized performing ensemble and has received local, national, and international critical acclaim for its work in presenting opera as theater — innovative productions that feature talented singers who are also exceptional actors. 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 two orchestral concerts, an annual Messiah Sing-along (since 1987), a children’s concert, and an annual opera on the terrace (since 1991). In 1991 he received a citation from New York City Mayor David Dinkins for “making live symphonic music accessible to new audiences.”

With the Putnam Chorale, Dr. Anderson conducts 6-10 performances each year, including major choral works (by composers such as Vaughan Williams, Verdi, Orff, Schubert, Mozart and Haydn), an annual Messiah Sing, a Pops concert, a Summer Sing, and popular and seasonal works for chorus.

He is internationally known and a prolific composer, with works from orchestral to chamber music to jazz to opera, including Medea in Exile in 2000 and Antigone Sings in 2006  (both to librettos by Andrew Joffe). In May 2003, the chamber trio Eight Strings and a Whistle performed his Chamber Symphony No. 3 during their New York debut. Recent works include The Half King (a short score for an imaginary movie, 2005) and “…mood enough…”  for viola solo, 2007. In 2009 he was a guest composer at the Bar Harbor (ME) Music Festival. His Chamber Symphony No. 4 was premiered on May 4th, 2011 by Eight Strings and a Whistle. He is often interviewed by various media, and his opinions on music, as well as his own compositions, have been broadcast locally, nationally and internationally.

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.

More information can be found here: Douglas Anderson