Stirring Up the Music: The Life and Works of Composer T.J. Anderson

John McDonald discusses T.J. Anderson’s life, work, and influences in this rich, extensive interview on the composer. T.J. Anderson is one of the leading composers of his generation. He was born August 17, 1928 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania and received degrees from West Virginia State College, Penn State University, and a Ph.D in Composition from the University of Iowa. He also holds several honorary degrees. After serving as Chairman of the Department of Music at Tufts University for eight years, Thomas Jefferson Anderson became Austin Fletcher Professor of Music and in 1990 became Austin Fletcher Professor of Music Emeritus.

Mark DeVoto, in program notes for a concert of T.J. Anderson’s music honoring the 100th year of Tufts University’s Department of Music, says: “T.J. Anderson, as all the world knows him, has spent a long and distinguished career composing music reflecting a global awareness of human experience in the twentieth century, synthesizing Eastern and Western classical traditions with the Black experience in America.”

McDonald’s nearly completed Anderson biography will soon enter the Borik Press catalog, composer Rodney Waschka II’s publishing company. (

John McDonald is a composer/pianist and Professor of Music at Tufts University, where he teaches composition, theory, and performance.

Image courtesy of interviewee. June 14, 2021

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