A native of Memphis, multidisciplinary Anastasia “An-Ya” Yarbrough is a versatile musician, facilitator, teaching artist, and animal studies scholar. She actively pursues her many interests, holding degrees from the University of Vermont and UNC School of the Arts.


An-Ya is a violist and singer based in Asheville, NC. She is a section violist with Hendersonville Symphony and has performed with Memphis Symphony, Germantown Symphony, Fletcher Opera Institute, Blue Ridge Orchestra, and the Master Players Festival Orchestra. At age 17, she was awarded a grant from the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.  While at UNC School of the Arts, she was a member of the Giannini Quartet.  She has performed in master classes for Kim Kashkashian, Ludwig Schmalhofer, Karen Ritscher, Jennifer Thompson of the Daedalus Quartet, Matt Maneri, Tanya Kalmanovitch, and Sean Lee.  She has performed at such venues as Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center, Stevens Center, and New York Live Arts. In addition to classical music, she is a jazz violist who has performed with Regina Carter, Mads Tolling, Sean Dobbins, Jason DeCristofaro and Steven Lugerner. Through the support of the Semans Grant, she attended Stanford Jazz Workshop and performed at the Stanford Jazz Festival. She regularly appears with the Mountain Chamber Jazz Ensemble. She studied viola performance at the UNC School of the Arts with Lila Brown and Sheila Browne.

biography-3 Animal Studies

Former executive board director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Anastasia Yarbrough maintains an active participant in the growing animal studies field. She studied wildlife sociology at the University of Vermont and founded the longest-lasting student animal advocacy organization at the university called STAR (Students for True Animal Rights).  As a McNair Scholar and recipient of the URECA grant, she conducted research in bioacoustics and bird song dialects (view report here). At Harvard Forest, she participated in research studying the effects of urbanization on cavity-nesting birds. She has spoken at animal advocacy conferences and appeared on the radio show Animal Voices. She has published essays in Journal for Critical Animal Studies and she has a chapter published in the book Critical Animal Geographies, edited by Kathryn Gillespie and Rosemary Collard. Her interests include intersections of race and species politics, animal minds, human-wildlife conflicts, and zoomusicology.


Anastasia has spent much of her community activism as a facilitator. Through retreats and residencies at Center for Whole Communities, The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center, Stone Circles, and the Southern Leadership Jam, she learned facilitation skills and techniques to support racial justice, ecological literacy, and diversity and inclusion. She further developed her skills as an Americorps VISTA at Green Opportunities. She consulted nonprofit organizations and led workshops through Inner Activism Services. She has also facilitated activities and workshops as a teaching artist with LEAF Community Arts and Girls Rock Asheville.