top of page

ANAHITA for Symphonic Wind Ensemble by ROSHANNE ETEZADY (USA, 1973)

[#229] December 11, 2023

2005 | Symphonic Wind Ensemble | Grade 5 | 10’ – 15’ | Tone poem

American composer and educator Roshanne Etezady

Anahita, by American composer and educator Roshanne Etezady is our Composition of the Week.

Anahita was written in 2005, and refers to the old Persian feminine given name, named after the ancient Iranian goddess Anahita, associated with fertility, healing and wisdom.

The work was premiered on September 30, 2005, by the University of Michigan Symphony Band under Michael Haithcock.

Anahita is scored for full wind ensemble, including contrabassoon, 2 euphonium and 2 tuba parts, as well as harp and 4 percussion parts. It has a duration of almost 15 minutes, and it is cast in three movements.

I.The Flight of the Night – II.Night Mares – III.Sleep and Repose/The Coming of the Light

The music is available at Murphy Press.

“In the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol Building in Albany, New York, there are two murals that were completed in 1878 by the New England painter William Morris Hunt. These works are enormous -- each approaching 18 feet in length -- and are considered the culminating works of the artist’s career. One of these murals, The Flight of Night, depicts the Zoroastrian Goddess of the Night, Anahita, driving her chariot westward, fleeing from the rising sun. However, if you travel to Albany today, you won’t see The Flight of Night. Two years after Hunt completed the giant murals (and only one year after his death), the ceiling in the Assembly Chamber began to leak. By 1882, The Flight of Night had already been damaged, and by 1888, the vaulted ceiling in the Assembly Chamber had to be condemned. A “false” ceiling was erected, completely obscuring Hunt’s murals, and today, most of The Flight of Night has been destroyed by the elements. Only the lowest inches of the original painting are still visible. Anahita draws inspiration from photographs of Hunt’s masterpiece before its decay as well as from the Persian poem that inspired Hunt originally. The first movement, The Flight of Night, is characterized by dramatic, aggressive gestures that are meant to evoke the terrifying beauty of the goddess herself. Movement two, Night Mares, is a scherzo-like movement that refers to the three monstrous horses that pull the chariot across the sky. In the final movement, Sleep and Repose/The Coming of Light, we hear the gentler side of the night, with a tender lullaby that ends with trumpets heralding the dawn.” Program Notes by Roshanne Etezady

Roshanne Etezady studied piano and flute and developed an interest in many different styles of music, from the musicals of Steven Sondheim to the 1980's power ballads and Europop of her teenage years. One fateful evening in 1986, she saw Philip Glass and his ensemble perform as the musical guests on Saturday Night Live. This event marked the beginning of her interest in contemporary classical music, as well as her interest in being a composer herself.

Since then, Etezady's works have been commissioned by the Albany Symphony, Dartmouth Symphony, eighth blackbird, Music at the Anthology, and the PRISM Saxophone Quartet. She has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Performers and ensembles including Amadinda Percussion Ensemble, Ensemble De Ereprijs, and the Dogs of Desire have performed Etezady's music throughout the United States and Europe. Roshanne Etezady's music has earned recognition from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Korean Society of 21st Century Music, the Jacob K. Javits Foundation, Meet the Composer, and ASCAP.

An active teacher, Etezady has taught at the Interlochen Arts Camp, Yale University, Saint Mary's College, and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. She has given masterclasses at Holy Cross College, the Juilliard School, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Etezady holds academic degrees from Northwestern University and Yale University, and she has worked intensively with numerous composers, including William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Michael Daugherty, and Ned Rorem. She completed her doctorate at the University of Michigan in March 2005.


Other works for winds by Roshanne Etezady include:

  • Against the Rain (2014)

  • Storm Warning (2020)

  • Parhelion (2022)

  • Forty-Eight Colors of the Full Moon (to be premiered on December 20, 2023, by the US Marine Band, Jason Fettig, conductor)

More on Roshanne Etezady

View score here:


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page