Sara Caneva

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Department of Music
Doctoral researcher

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PhD Title: Visual stimuli and acoustic perception: sources for new creativity
Supervisors: Dr Scott Wilson, Dr Annie Mahtani and Dr Ryan Latimer
PhD Musical Composition


  • MA in Composition (1st)
  • MA in Conducting (1st)
  • 10 yr. Diploma - Master equivalent in Piano (1st)
  • PGDip in Composition (1st)
  • 10 yr. Diploma - Master equivalent in Composition


I am a composer, conductor, and current PhD researcher at the University of Birmingham. In 2020 I was a nominee for the 'Classical: NEXT Innovation Award' and shortlisted for 'LaMaestra Conducting Competition' at La Philharmonie de Paris. I won the 'Young Artist Program' position at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in 201617, where I composed and conducted a new opera diptych. My music has then been commissioned and performed in venues such as Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Musiikkitalo Camerata Helsinki, Auditorium Parco della Musica Roma, Salzburg Mozarteum, Moscow Philharmonic Chamber Hall, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, Graz Theater am Lend, BEAST Festival, with broadcasts on the Italian and Austrian national radios. Since 2018, my compositions are published by Edizioni Suvini Zerboni. I was granted composer-in-residence at Bogliasco Foundation, Kone-Saari Residency, Land Steiermark StAIR, Otte1 Künstlerhaus, and other institutions, where I developed land art installations and cross-disciplinary projects. As a conductor, besides carrying a rich symphonic and operatic repertoire, I acted considerably in contemporary music directing several world-premieres of the most diverse genres.


The core of my musical thoughts is sound quality, the gestures that produce sound and the environment. My project inspects audio-visual awareness and its role and development within the compositional practice, traversing sound-ecology and auditory theatre. Unusual perceptive conditions are explored through installations in real/virtual environments, theatre pieces, and performance in complete darkness, also determining alternative notation systems. Borderline statuses such as full darkness may provoke sleep, illusions, and subvert the balance between foreground and background events, originating a deeper appropriation of our listening and creating subjective musical structures.

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