April 30, 2021

MSM Spotlight: Composition student Zitian An (MM ’22)

Zitian An is a first year Master’s student in the Classical Composition Program and is part of You give us 26 minutes… premiering on May 4, presented by MSM Artists in Residence Windscape.

The project features compositions and videos created by Zitian and 12 other MSM composition students, with their musical works performed by  Windscape.

Zitian tells us about his experience being part of this ambitious project, why he chose MSM, and his hopes and dreams for the future. 

Tell us a little about yourself!

Zitian: I grew up in Guangzhou, a coastal city in southern China. My grandmother, a college math and music professor as well as a painter, had a huge impact on me. I was always intrigued by her passion for music, as well as her adventurous spirit with her religion and studies about extraterrestrial lives. I studied at The Rochester Institute of Technology and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and learned a lot especially from art and science classes.

I came to Manhattan School of Music for the deep and immersive study of music, and hope to continue exploring the multimedia approach to music compositions.

What do you like about this concert and tell us what it’s like being a part of this concert?

Zitian: I feel so honored to collaborate with such great performers and to be part of this group of amazing composers. I got goosebumps listening to the recordings. The interpretations are on point, and the advice the members of the Windscape ensemble gave were very good critiques and very helpful. Although everything needs to be done remotely due to the pandemic, it was still a great experience being a part of this project.

How has this school year been for you?

Zitian:This school year had been the most special one for me for several reasons. Like many other students, this is the first time I’ve done all of my classes online, and I had never been to a music school before, so it is interesting to see what the teaching approach the professors have, and get to know my musician colleagues. Our chair of the department, Reiko Fueting, managed to make connections for us so we could collaborate with many excellent musicians and groups such as the Windscape ensemble, which I am very grateful for. I enjoyed the challenges and opportunities that Manhattan School of Music has brought me.

Zitian An (MM '22)

What do you like best about the MSM Community and being at MSM?

Zitian: The professors at MSM are knowledgable, patient and willing to help in general. Some of them are the best professors I’ve encountered in my life. Also, my colleagues are all unique, thoughtful, and willing to accept challenges. Although I have not yet been to the MSM building, other than for the audition, due to the pandemic, the MSM community had always been encouraging.

What projects are you working on now?

Zitian: I am working on starting a new musical composition project with interactive installations based on Buddhism studies on “Mahayana Hundred Dharmas Shastra”.

“I feel so honored to collaborate with such great music performers and being part of these amazing composers. I got goosebumps when I listened to the recordings.”

Classical Composition

What do you like best about studying your major at MSM?

Zitian: The perspectives my colleagues and professors give me are always fresh. I am also learning some interesting approaches for  developing forms and structures, and how do we manage our perceptions with time, which I think are extremely important to a music composer.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Cosmos: My most recent goal is to finish the interactive installation piece, and my next step is to discover more connections between olfactory art and music.

MSM’s Artist in Residence Windscape Presents:

You Give Us 26 Minutes…

13 Premieres of Music/Video Works by MSM Composition Students, performed by the MSM Artists in Residence Windscape.


MAY 4 | 6 PM EDT

Manhattan School of Music
130 Claremont Avenue
New York, New York 10027

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