Playing mainly the baritone, but also the soprano, alto, tenor saxophones, Anders got his start in music taking piano lessons, singing in church choirs and playing saxophone in the public school band. In 1991 Anders graduated from Luther College and in 1994 he completed his Masters Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the mid 1990s Anders studied with Frank Morgan while Frank lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Frank taught me everything about the saxophone, especially the importance of sound. Another key component to Anders’ post-graduate education was his meetings with multi-instrumentalist and composer Roscoe Mitchell. Since 2001 Anders has played and recorded with Roscoe in various contexts ranging from duos to large ensembles.
As a member of the Transatlantic Art Ensemble, The Roscoe Mitchell Big Band, and a guest with Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory, Anders has performed with a “who’s-who” in the jazz/contemporary improvised music scene: Evan Parker, Corey Wilkes, Craig Taborn, Philipp Wachsmann, Jaribu Shahid, Barry Guy, Tani Tabbal, Paul Lytton, Vijay Iyer, Ari Brown, Mwata Bowden, Spencer Barefield, Gerald Cleaver and many others.
Anders has also performed with The Cab Calloway Orchestra, Greg Abate, Jon Irabagon and the award winning Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Sextet. He has opened for Grammy Award Latin Jazz legend, Pancho Sanchez and composer/percussionist Gerry Hemingway.
In 2007 The Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University published Anders’ book on Detroit bebop saxophonist, Sonny Red, in its Annual Review of Jazz Studies 13. Bluesville: The Journey of Sonny Red was a 10 year project focusing on the virtually unknown, but very unique, saxophonist from Detroit. The book includes transcriptions, a discography, and an oral history which includes interviews from: Curtis Fuller, Kiane Zawadi, Tommy Flanagan, Frank Foster, Charles McPherson, Louis Hayes, Jimmy Heath, Talibe Kibwe, Cedar Walton, Yusef Lateef, many more musicians and family members. These interviews, pictures, discography and music can be found at the official Sonny Red website that Anders curates.
From 2005-2019 Anders taught the improvisation ensemble, saxophone quartet, jazz combo and saxophone at Beloit College. Anders is currently teaching saxophone through the Sun Prairie Band Booster Lesson Academy.
Anders curates the monthly New Music Concert Series and jam session through the Arts and Literature Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. Currently Anders leads the Anders Svanoe Trio, Double Quartet and Latin Jazz Quintet. These bands are featured on The State of the Baritone series on Irabbagast Records. For the past 25 years, Anders has also been the author and curator of the official Sonny Red book and website.