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about me

Alfredo Santa Ana

Mexican/Canadian composer.

Writes music for live performance, electronic music, and sometimes for films.

Teaches music theory and composition.

Plays guitar in a band.


Since 2003, I have been living in Vancouver, Canada, located in the ancestral Coast Salish territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. From here, I have collaborated with a number of artists and ensembles that I really admire. These include the NYO Canada, Standing Wave Ensemble, Turning Point Ensemble, Orchestre de la Francophonie, the Victoria Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and most recently the vocal ensemble musica intima.

Some recent highlights in my career include having extraordinary artists perform and engage with my music, like Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, composer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane, dancer and choreographer Margie Gillis, and Vancouver indie legend Veda Hille. Through my work, I also get to collaborate frequently with incredible artists and Canadian treasures that I also consider great friends, like poet Colin Browne and flautist Mark Takeshi McGregor.

I received my formal training in the tradition of European Western music at the University of British Columbia where I wrote a string quartet for my doctoral dissertation in 2010 on the idea of impermanent large-scale form, where the form of the piece changes every time it is performed. Shortly after graduating, I became the inaugural composer in residence for the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC (2011-2014), and I became an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre.


In addition to composing music for concert halls, I also write music for films. Recently, I received a Western Canadian Music Award Nomination for 2022 Media Composer of the Year for the film Chained, and also won a 2006 Best Film Score prize at the NexT International Film Festival Awards in Bucharest for my work in the early films of director Jamie Travis.


Over the last few years I have been playing guitar in the Vancouver-based avant-rock band called Square, and produce and perform as Ghost Shepherd, a music project with my partner, writer Alisen Santa Ana.

Recently, in November of 2022, I released an album of my music for guitar music called Sounds of Time & Distance, and in 2023 I joined the faculty at the Vancouver Academy of Music, where I teach music theory and composition.

If you want to reach me you can send me email me at asa(at)

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