Andersen Viana
(1962 - )

An active and prolific composer, Andersen Viana has written over 200 pieces, worked as a composer-conductor and a cultural producer, and has taught comparative music history at Palacio das Artes and Film Music at the Escola Livre de Cinema, both in Belo Horizonte.  In addition, he occasionally lectures in universities around the country.

An Influential Family

Born in 1962 in Belo Horizonte, this Brazilian composer, arranger, conductor and music producer comes from a family of musicians and artists.  Among them was his father, Sebastião Vianna, who was very accomplished.  Today, he is perhaps best remembered as the reviser of and assistant to Brazil’s most well known classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

The young Viana’s first composition dates from between the ages of twelve and thirteen and was of a religious nature.  His first instrument, the guitar, was soon exchanged for the piccolo and later for the flute, which he studied under guidance of his father.  It seems that just being with his family served as an intense music education: at mealtimes many topics about the art were discussed and debated.  These lively discussions, together with his flute studies and the advice and encouragement of his father, promoted the creation of many compositions.

First Successes

At age seventeen, Viana gathered a selected repertoire of his music for flute, piano, and cello, and began presenting recitals in his town.  At this time, however, circumstances arose that put composition and flute playing on hold: a greater need for string instruments in Brazil led Viana to learn about these instruments.

As part of his studies, he met one of the most renowned professors in Brazil, the violinist Paulo Bosísio, a student of the esteemed British violinist Max Rostal.  Bosísio taught Viana everything about strings, focusing on viola and violin.  After only two years of viola studies, Viana entered a contest in Rio de Janeiro and subsequently was accepted into the Youth Symphonic Orchestra (1983).  He spent the next five years there, and simultaneously he complemented playing in the orchestra with four years of work with the Brazilian Musical Theater.  At the theater he served as a performer, arranger, and musical director, working closely with directors and authors such as Luiz Antônio Martinez, Manuel Puig (known for the 1986 Oscar-winning The Kiss of the Spider Woman) and Luis Antonio Barcos.

At the same time, however, Viana continued actively composing.  In 1984 his piece Fantasieta for horn and piano won first prize in the I National Composition Competition in Rio de Janeiro.  One of the judges of this competition was respected composer Radamés Gnatalli, with whom Viana later took private lessons.  Following that win, he earned an honorable mention in the International Competition at Vercelli-Italy (1984) with the same piece, and won the Funarte Sidney Miller Hall Project (1986) with his ecological instrumental piece Suite Floral

In 1988 he returned to Belo Horizonte after a period of academic studies at the university, and there he entered the Fundação Clóvis Salgado - Palácio das Artes (1989).

In 1992, shortly before concluding his composition studies at the School of Music at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), he entered a work in the Summer Festival in Poços de Caldas and won the competition. The prize was a 1993 trip to Italy in order to participate in the Festival di Anzio-Italy at the Arts Academy of Rome.  Viana was also invited to establish and direct the Brazilian Embassy Choir while simultaneously working on his course at the Reale Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna.

Also that year, in June of 1993, he was a participant at the Premio di Studio IILA (Italo-Latin American Institute of Rome) and competed with artists from twenty-three Latin American countries; ultimately, he won this important prize, the Accademia Chigiana di Siena - Ennio Morricone. At this same institute he took seminars about film and music with directors such as Ettore Scola and Giussepe Tornatore.

Recent Professional Achievements and Activities

Throughout his career, Viana has earned prizes in many prestigious competitions, both in Brazil and abroad.  For instance, in 1996, he won first prize at the II National Composition Competition. In 1998, he was awarded another first prize at the I César Guerra-Peixe Composition Competition for Symphonic Band and earned second prize at the II Camargo Guarnieri Composition Prize for String Orchestra. 

2001 was a particularly noteworthy year in terms of competition prizes.  That year the Gramado Film Festival awarded him "Best Sound Track."  Viana also won first and second prizes at the Funarte Composition Competition.  And, in a competition among fifty-six professional composers from the Americas, Europe, and Asia, he received first prize for his Toccata at the  "1er Concours de Composition pour Orchestre à Vent" - Lys Music Orchestra.  

His most recent awards include the first prize at the II Gilberto Mendes Composition Competition (2004).  Also he was selected as one of  five finalists among 200 candidates from forty countries at 1er Concours de Composition Musicale Coups de Vents, LILLE - France, Cultural Capital of Europe.  In 2006 he won the second prize at the UFBA Composition Prize competition and won the first prize and the public prize at Lambersart Composition Competition – France.

Additionally, for more than two decades he has performed, organized, produced, and composed for numerous musical events and recordings.  He has succeeded in creating and directing many vocal and instrumental ensembles such as the Experimental Orchestra (1983), Septheto Rio (1986), Febem Children’s Choir (1991), the Brazilian Embassy Choir in Rome-CEB (1993), Cultura Inglesa Choir B.H. (1994),Trio Barroco (1994), Orchestra Virtual (1995), Stockholm Nonet (1996), The Duo-Sweden (1997), Smru Choir, Camerata Primavera (2003), and The Cicada and the Orchestra (2006).

At present, Viana’s catalogue contains over two hundred works, composed in a great diversity of styles and for various instrumental and vocal ensembles, electronic, acoustic or both.  He has been working to develop a "multi-aesthetic and multi-cultural" music.

In the 2001-2002 season his project “BH International Year I” was approved by the City Town Hall.  For the first time a Brazilian composer has conducted, produced and recorded original music with a top European orchestra, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Moravska Filarmonie), in the Czech Republic. He has also composed, conducted and produced music for the following films: The Fortuneteller, 3:00:AM, Burning Hearts, The Adam Children, The Next Step, Gun’s Speech, Lost in Abbey Road, Vivalma, Manuelzão e Bananeira, Ofelia, Playing for Tomorrow, Ghost Train, The Man of Head of Paper and Minas Portuguesa.  In 2002 his music was selected from among 500 international candidates to be presented at the Mova Arts Festival in Alabama, U.S.A.

Currently Viana, who holds a doctorate in composition from the Federal University of Bahia School of Music, is a professor at the Palácio das Artes and Escola Livre de Cinema in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He specializes in film music, having studied this genre in music institutions in Brazil, Italy and Sweden including: UFMG, Reale Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna, Arts Academy of Rome, Accademia Chigiana di Siena and Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

Along with music, Viana pursues other artistic endeavors.  After participating in text, scripting, and cinema workshops with Ana Miranda, Paulo Halm and Claudio MacDowell, in 2005 he released his first fictional book: Contos Cinematográficos Volume I.