Anita Sleeman (b Andrès). Composer, conductor, b San Jose, Cal, 12 Dec 1930, immigrated to Canada 1963; Diploma (Placer College) 1952?, B MUS (UBC) 1971, M MUS (UBC) 1974, DMA (USC) 1982. Anita Sleeman began piano lessons at age three, later taking up trumpet and French horn at school. Her first work was a piece for her college band, premiered at her graduation. She married Evan Sleeman and the couple settled on a ranch in Nevada until immigrating to Bella Coola, BC in 1963. There, she taught music appreciation to children until 1967, when the family relocated to Vancouver. Sleeman returned to school, studying composition at UBC with Cortland Hultberg and earning bachelor's and master's degrees. In 1971, along with four others, she founded the Delta Youth Orchestra in Vancouver. Before undertaking her doctorate, she taught music theory and history at Capilano College circa 1974-9, essentially creating the curricula for the program. She was then accepted into USC's DMA program, on fellowship, where she worked with James Hopkins, Frederick Lesemann, and Earle Brown while taking master classes with Luciano Berio, Luigi Nono, and Charles Wuorinen. She also attended the Dick Grove School of Jazz while in Los Angeles.
Prizes and Commissions
After returning to Vancouver, Sleeman was guest composer/lecturer at the Ernest Bloch Festival in Newport, Oregon in 1990. The festival orchestra played her Passacaglia Concertante to favourable reviews. In 1992, she became the conductor of the Ambleside Orchestra, an amateur "palm court orchestra" working on the North Shore of Vancouver. In 1997 a concert of her works was played by the Galiano Trio as part of The Little Chamber Music Series That Could. Also that year, Sleeman was chosen to represent Canada at the Donne in Musica Festival in Fiuggi, Italy. She won a competition sponsored by the International Alliance for Women in Music in 1999 that resulted in a London, England performance of Picasso Gallery II, a work premiered a year earlier by the Vancouver New Music Ensemble. Her Capriccio for Trombone, Violin and Orchestra was premiered by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra under Susan Haig in 2000. The Quatuor Arthur-Leblanc commissioned Cantigas, which they have since championed across Canada. Writing in the Globe and Mail, Ken Winters called Cantigas "...a work full of device, rhythmically strong, changeable and captivating" (30 Nov 2002). Sleeman's Rhapsody on Themes by Dohnányi was premiered at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival in 2006.
Anita Sleeman is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, has served on the board of Vancouver Pro Musica, is a member of SOCAN and the Canadian League of Composers, and in 2002 became an honorary lifetime member of the Association of Canadian Women Composers.
"Interview: Anita Sleeman," ACWC Bulletin, Winter 1997
"Composer profile: Anita Sleeman," ACWC Bulletin, Fall-Winter 2001
"NV composer part of showcase," North Shore News, 15 Feb 2002