Alfredo Santa Ana

Alfredo Santa Ana’s music has been described as “meaningful work offering substance as well as high style” (Vancouver Sun). His distinct compositional output encompasses genre-defying music for concert halls and film, as well as ongoing explorations into electronic music. In 2021, his album of dark chamber-like sample-based suite of miniatures, Nightscape, was praised as “…a visionary piece, in orbit on a journey unknown” (The Permanent Rain Press).

Throughout his career, Alfredo has worked with an extensive range of artists, and his music has been performed by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, Erato Ensemble, members of the Finnish Lapland Chamber Orchestra, flautist Mark Takeshi McGregor, singer/songwriter Veda Hille, composer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane, and Grammy & Pulitzer Prize winning composer/performer Caroline Shaw. Recent work includes a Music on Main commission for The Tempest Project, and a new work featuring Canadian countertenor Daniel Cabena with poetry by Colin Browne expected to premiere in 2024.

Born in Mexico City, Alfredo began studying piano as a child, igniting his interest in classical music. He first explored composition while enrolled at Truman State University in the United States and quickly earned multiple composition awards from the Music Teacher National Association and received a Presser Foundation Music Scholarship. After moving to Vancouver in 2003 he received his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of British Columbia. From 2011 to 2014 he served as the inaugural Composer in Residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, where he collaborated with renowned choreographer/dancer Margie Gillis to create interdisciplinary work that was performed in Montréal, Vancouver, and New York.

His music for film has been nominated for a Leo Award and has also been featured in award-winning films at the Toronto Film Festival, Sundance, Busan Film Festival, and the Morelia International Film Festival. His work with filmmaker Jamie Travis earned him a Best Film Score prize at the NexT International Film Festival Awards in Bucharest, and Alfredo’s latest score, Chained, landed him a nomination for a Western Canadian Music Award as Visual Media Composer of the Year in 2022.

As a guitarist, Alfredo is a member of the innovative Vancouver-based avant-rock group Square— an ensemble of leading Canadian composers and indie-rock legends from Western Canada. Alfredo also performs and produces as Ghost Shepherd, a project with his partner, writer Alisen Santa Ana.

In 2023, Alfredo joined the faculty at the Vancouver Academy of Music.