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performance • commissioning • directing • teaching • writing

Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions Video Interview (2023)

Canadian-American ANNE DOROTHY HARLEY is a director, performer, educator and scholar, serving as faculty at Scripps College, where she has led the voice area and has taught music history and interdisciplinary humanities since 2009.

As part of her research, teaching, and service, she regularly leads projects uniting faculty, students, community groups, and visiting scholars from various disciplines in the creation of new music about pressing social issues.  Harley’s solo performances appear on Hänssler Profil, Naxos, Sony Classics, Canteloupe, Musica Omnia, einKlang, Bridge Records, and BMOP/sound, among others.

In 2011, she founded the new music commissioning series, Voices Of The Pearl ( As director of the project, Harley produces, premieres, and records newly composed song cycles, setting texts by and about female esoteric practitioners and mystics from all spiritual traditions, reclaiming women’s texts that have been lost to the mainstream. She has been awarded four NEA grants, four grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, and a residency at the Salzburg Mozarteum, among others. Funding has made possible the premiering and recording of works by over 15 composers, including Karola Obermüller, Moshe Shulman, Marjorie Merryman, Bill Alves, Gao Ping, Pablo Ortiz, Yii Kah Hoe, Fahad Siadat, Preben Antonsen, Aida Shirazi, and Jodi Goble.

Her peer-reviewed articles address performance practice and issues of gender and activism in music, including the importance of connecting performing arts education to environmental activism.

She has held visiting professorships in Germany and the People’s Republic of China, in both music and theatre departments. In 2023-24, she was a Scholar in Residence at the Center for the Study of World Religions at the Harvard Divinity School, researching the connection between voice and psyche and ways in which embodied sounding practices have been employed in spiritual practices.

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