Anne Cawrse: A Room of Her Own

A Room of Her Own

I. Web
II. Epigraph
III. Anon
IV. Incandescence


Commissioned for the Australian String Quartet by the Elder Conservatorium of Music with support of the John Bishop Memorial Commission

Winner: Australian Art Music Awards for Work of the Year: Chamber Music (2021)
First prize: Albert H Maggs Composition Award (2021)

Performed by the Australian String Quartet
Dale Barltrop – Violin I
Francesca Hiew – Violin II
Stephen King – Viola
Sharon Grigoryan – Cello

Composed by Anne Cawrse
Produced and Mastered by Jakub Gaudasinski
Engineered by Tom Henry
Recorded at ABC Studio Adelaide, October 2020
Angelina Zucco – ASQ Chief Executive
Sophie Emery – ASQ Operations Manager
Artwork – Jim Tsinganos Illustration
Art Direction – Cul-de-Sac Creative

Special thanks to Anne Cawrse for her valued support of this release


A Room of Her Own is my essay and personal reflection upon the requirements for prosperous creativity. In it, I explore the delicate balance between the realm of the creator and the work being created, taking inspiration from quotes gathered from Virginia Woolf’s seminal text ‘A Room of One’s Own’.

The work is in four movements, played attacca (without pause):

I. Web
“…imaginative work (is) like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.”

II. Epigraph

III. Anon
“I would venture to guess that Anon… was often a woman.”

IV. Incandescence
“The mind of an artist, in order to achieve the prodigious effort of freeing whole and entire the work that is in (her), must be incandescent…. There must be no obstacle in it.”

The music opens with Web, a fragile meditation performed by solo cello, accompanied by an off-stage ‘choir’ of bowed crotales. In Epigraph, the off-stage performers return and introduce us to musical themes by composers Margaret Sutherland, Clara Schumann and Rebecca Clarke. These themes then become the primary musical material for Anon, an aggressive and hostile, but occasionally tender homage to forgotten voices of the musical canon. A poignant viola solo announces Incandescence: a hymn to self-awareness, acceptance, and vulnerability.

Anne Cawrse

Further details can be found at


Anne Cawrse completed a PhD in Composition at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide in 2008.  She is highly sought after as an orchestral and chamber music composer, with commissions from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian String Quartet, Plexus Ensemble, Various People Inc, Zephyr Quartet, and the Adelaide Wind Orchestra. 

Cawrse is also a highly revered art song and choral composer, and is the most commissioned composer of the award winning Adelaide Chamber Singers. Her first opera, Innocence, was developed with Singular Productions and the State Opera Company of South Australia. She has twice been a finalist in the APRA/Australian Music Centre Classical Music Awards, winning the State award in 2018.

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