Anna Celenza at the American Academy in Rome April 2011. Photo: Annie Schlechter.

Biography

Anna Harwell Celenza is the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University and the author of several scholarly books, including Music as Cultural Mission: Explorations of Jesuit Practices in Italy and North America (2014) and Hans Christian Andersen and Music: The Nightingale Revealed (2005). Her work has also appeared in The Hopkins Review, Musical Quarterly, Nineteenth-Century Music, Notes, The Cambridge Companion to Liszt (2005), and Franz Liszt and His World (2006) and The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington (2014) . In addition to her scholarly work, she has authored a series of award-winning children's books with Charlesbridge Publishing: The Farewell Symphony (2000), Pictures at an Exhibition (2003), The Heroic Symphony (2004), Bach's Goldberg Variations (2005), Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (2006), Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite (2011), Vivaldi's Four Seasons (2012), Saint-SaŽns's Danse macabre (2013) and a 14-part syndicated series on Louis Armstrong for the NC Press Foundation. Her work has been featured on nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, including NPR's "Todd Mundt Show", BBC's "Music Matters" and "Proms Broadcasts", and C-Span's "Book-TV". Before coming to Georgetown she served as a writer and guest commentator for Michigan Public Radio and NPR's "Performance Today."

Selected Works

Children's Picture Books
"Zig and zig and zig. Maestro Death keeps time." A friend's poem and a visit to the catacombs underneath Paris in 1872 inspire composer Camille Saint-SaŽns to write a now-famous orchestral piece echoing the sounds of dancing, clacking skeletal bones.
A heartwarming story of friendship, imagination, and the transforming power of music.
An upbeat Christmas book about breaking boundaries and experimenting with new ideas. Includes a recording of Ellingtonís suite. (Publishers Weekly). The Nutcracker Suite has never been so hip!
Johann Sebastian Bach encourages Count Keyserlingk to take in a talented young orphan named Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. The Count is an insomniac, but hearing Goldberg play the harpsichord soothes him. Soon the Count challenges Goldberg to combine all the music he's learned and throw in a riddle. Under Bach's tutelage, Goldberg successfully plays a difficult piece that becomes known as Goldberg Variations. "[T]he story is wonderfully told in the tropes and manner of a folktale." ó Booklist
It's 1924, and with just a few weeks' notice, George Gershwin has been asked to compose a new concerto that exemplifies American music. In his search for a new melody, Gershwin realizes that American music is much like its people -- a great melting pot of sounds, rhythms, and harmonies. JoAnn Kitchel's illustrations capture the 1920's in all their art-deco majesty.
When Beethoven learns he is going deaf, he is determined to write a great symphony. As war rages in Europe he thinks he has found his inspiration in the heroic deeds of Napoleon. But has he?
Modest Mussorgsky is deeply saddened by the death of his friend, Victor Hartmann. In his grief, Modest turns his back on his dream of bringing the glories of the Russian people to the world through his music. His friends must find a way to help Modest deal with the loss of Victor and inspire him to compose again. "[A] new gem for music lovers." ó Booklist
A fictionalized telling of the true story behind Haydn's Farewell Symphony brings to life the long summer Haydn and his musicians spent at Esterhaza, the summer palace of Prince Nicholas of Esterhazy. When the musicians become homesick they devise a way to convince the prince it's time to go home.
Nonfiction, Music History
ďThis is a tautly written, readable and fascinating volume, casting new light on familiar figures from start to finish.Ē
ĖClassical Music
Niels W. Gade (1817-1890) was an influential musical figure in 19th century Denmark. This work presents an in-depth study in English of Gade's life and works. It describes the evolution of Gade's compositional style as reflected in his early orchestral and chamber works and re-evaluates his role as a nationalist composer. It investigates Gade's literary and musical roots, and studies Gade's "search for the poetic" by presenting descriptions of seven works represented in Gade's compositional diary.
Edited Book
St. Hans' Evening Play is the second complete overture composed by Niels W. Gade (1817-90), undoubtedly the most prominent figure in nineteenth-century Danish music. This edition marks the first scholarly edition of this important work.