Anthony Brandt

Composer & Professor, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music

About This Expert

Composer Anthony Brandt (b. 1961) earned his degrees from California Institute of the Arts and Harvard University. His honors include a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the Houston Arts Alliance, the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program. He has been a fellow at the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Tanglewood Institute, the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Colony. He has been a Visiting Composer at the Bowdoin International Festival, the Bremen Musikfest, Baltimore’s New Chamber Arts Festival, Southwestern University, SUNY- Buffalo and Cleveland State University and Composer-in-Residence of Houston’s OrchestraX and the International Festival of Music in Morelia, Mexico. Recent commissions include Maternity for soprano and chamber orchestra, with a libretto by David Eagleman, Sphinx, a play with music in collaboration with Blackburn Prize winner Jennifer Haley and C O’Clock, a musical installation created with composer Chapman Welch as part of a civic art project by visual artist Jo Fleischhauer. A recording of his vocal music, including his chamber opera The Birth of Something with a libretto by Will Eno, has been released by Albany Records (Troy 1144).

Dr. Brandt is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Houston-based contemporary music ensemble Musiqa ( Winner of a 2013 Adventurous Programming Award from Chamber Music America and ASCAP, Musiqa presents subscription concerts at the Hobby Center and free loft concerts at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Musiqa also has one of the largest educational programs of any contemporary music ensemble in the United States: over 30,000 public school students have participated in the past eight years, all at no cost to schools. Musiqa’s educational programs have been recognized with six consecutive awards from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr. Brandt is a frequent speaker on music cognition and creativity. He co-authored a paper with neuroscientist Robert Slevc and Rice DMA graduate Molly Gebrian on music and early language published in the journal Frontiers. He has organized two international conferences at the Shepherd School on “Exploring the Mind through Music,” most recently in 2011. He is currently a principal investigator in a stroke recovery research program at Houston Methodist’s Center for Performing Arts Medicine. His TEDx talk on “Why Minds Need Art” is viewable at:

Dr. Brandt is also the author of an innovative, web-based music appreciation course called “Sound Reasoning” (, created for the Connexions Project. “Sound Reasoning” was awarded an Access to Artistic Excellence Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr. Brandt is an Associate Professor of Composition at the Shepherd School of Music. He was awarded the University’s George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2007 and the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize in 2001.

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