In my artistic journey I have learned that what always felt right for me was communicating an emotion.


Cynthia Van Maanen is a composer, educator, and flautist.

Her compositions have been performed by members of the Houston Ballet Orchestra, Houston Opera Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, as well as many collegiate faculty members and students from around the country. She is also the composer of the Traverse City Film Festivals’ opening fanfare. In addition to concert music, Van Maanen has works designed for dance and has collaborated on numerous occasions with choreographers both in working with existing music or in creating new pieces for performance.


As an educator, Dr. Van Maanen is strongly committed to helping students discover their own voice and communicate that to an audience.

Her students have gone on to attend Juilliard, Eastman, Peabody, Oberlin, Curtis, San Francisco, Rice, Cleveland Institute of Music, Vanderbilt, and others. She has been asked to give masterclasses and/or teach private lessons in a variety of places including: Seattle Symphony’s Composer Workshop: The Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop; The FaceArt school in Shanghai, China; and the TACS program of San Francisco Conservatory. She is published as part of the Music Library Association’s Technical Report Series in Information Literacy in Music: an Instructor’s Companion.


Van Maanen holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition with a minor in music theory from the University of Houston.

Her Master’s degree is from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. In addition she holds the Performers Certificate in Scoring for Film and Television from the University of Southern California. Her undergraduate degree, also in composition with a focus in flute performance is from Baylor University. Her professors in composition were David Ashley White, Samuel Jones, and Richard Willis. Masterclasses and workshops were with Christopher Rouse, Alvin Singleton, Samuel Adler, Elliot Antokoletz, and Christopher Theofanidis. Her work at USC was with Richard Bellis, Jerry Goldsmith, Buddy Baker, John Parker, Bruce Broughton and included additional masterclasses in composition with Bill Conti, David Raksin, Henry Mancini and sax lessons with Buddy Collette


As a flautist, Van Maanen has performed with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, the American Radio Chamber Orchestra (ARCO), Class Act Productions (including saxophone), the Encore Wind Symphony, and the Old Town Playhouse (including saxophone).

Van Maanen currently teaches composition and theory for the Interlochen Arts Academy. She also teaches for the Boston Conservatory High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) during the summers.