Ancel ‘Fitz’ Neeley (b. 2000) is a composer, percussionist, improviser, producer, and videographer who has written a variety of solo, chamber, electronic, and multimedia works. Fitz writes music that explores storytelling as a tool for empathy often taking inspiration from cinematography, screenwriting, and communication. Fitz is a frequent collaborator as both a composer and a performer being apart of numerous projects such as Clara Warnaar’s “A New Age for New Age Vol. 5 “, Abby Carpenter’s album “Paint by Numbers”, Marina Pamela Galarza Villanueva’s “Contemporar-ish”, Lisa Bielawa’s “Voter’s Broadcast”, Michael Gordon’s “Field of Vision”, and John Luther Adams’ grammy nominated “Sila” with the University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble.

Fitz has had works performed by the Interlochen World Youth Wind Symphony, Videri String Quartet, and the University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble, and has had works commissioned/performed by Tom Sherwood, Danielle Gonzalez, Cameron Leach, the Michigan Music Teachers Association, the University of Michigan Concert Band and the IGNIS Quintet. 

Fitz is currently earning a Master of Music degree in composition at the University of Michigan having previously earned a BM in composition and percussion performance from U of M as well. Fitz has studied with Professors Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, Jonathan Ovalle, Tom Sherwood, Doug Perkins, and Roshanne Etezady and is currently studying with Professors Erik Santos, and Ian Antonio.

Artist Statement

I write music to tell stories. As a musician I’ve found it much easier to communicate through music than with words. As a creator, my primary goal is to understand and apply music as a tool for empathy between the composer, the performer, and the listener. I spend time observing the importance of music to others and how a performance can elicit catharsis, and creativity for the listener. My method of composition is guided by diligently picking apart what creates these feelings in myself and others. By no means have I found the most successful method of creating, but nevertheless I am still searching to codify my art within this framework. Above all, I approach composition this way because I believe the audience should feel connected and welcome.

I want to constantly pursue greater collaboration in my music whether it’s working alongside fellow artists, musicians and composers on projects, or by continuously working to promote more voices and acknowledge influences in my own work transparently. It is because of so many friends, peers, teachers, and musicians that I can attribute to my passion for writing. For that I am thankful always.