errollyn wallen
<b>Errollyn Wallen</b> - 'renaissance woman of contemporary British music' (The Observer) - is as respected a singer-songwriter of pop influenced songs as she is a composer of contemporary new music. Communication is at the centre of both worlds: engaging the audience, speaking directly to hearts and minds.
ERROLLYN WALLEN

Errollyn Wallen is a multi award-winning Belize-born British composer and performer. Her prolific output includes twenty-two operas and a large catalogue of orchestral, chamber and vocal works which are performed and broadcast throughout the world. She was the first black woman to have a work featured in the Proms. Errollyn composed for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games 2012, for the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees, a specially commissioned song for the climate change conference, COP 26, 2021, and a re-imagining of Jerusalem for BBC’s Last Night of the Proms 2020.

BBC Radio 3 featured her music across the first week of 2022 for its flagship programme, Composer of the Week and she has made several radio documentaries including
Classical Commonwealth, nominated for the Prix Europa, which explored the impact of colonialism on music in the Commonwealth.

Errollyn Wallen founded her own group, Ensemble X whose motto is “we don’t break down barriers in music…we don’t see any”. Their orchestral album PHOTOGRAPHY on the NMC label was voted a Top Ten Classical Album by USA’s National Public Radio. Orchestra X performed Errollyn’s composition Mighty River, which was featured in PRSF’s New Music Biennial 2017 and which is being performed at this year’s PRSF Biennial by National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain at Coventry Cathedral and the Southbank, London.

Errollyn Wallen collaborated with artist Sonia Boyce on her installation, Feeling Her Way, for the British Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale which won the Golden Lion prize for Best National Participation.

Errollyn’s albums have travelled 7.84 million kilometres in space, completing 186 orbits around the Earth on NASA’s STS115 mission.

Her critically acclaimed opera, Dido’s Ghost premiered at the Barbican, London, in June 2021 and will receive its US premiere in 2023 in San Francisco by co-commissioners Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale.

Recent and forthcoming premieres include a piano concerto composed for pianist Rebeca Ormodia, The World’s Weather, an orchestral work premiered by BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, and new choral works for King’s College Choir, Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, Salisbury Cathedral and Harrow School.

The April premiere and tour of her latest opera (for Graeae Theatre Company), The Paradis Files, coincided with the premiere of Quamino’s Map, for Chicago Opera Theater.

Errollyn was awarded an MBE in 2007 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and a CBE in 2020 in the New Year Honours, for services to music.


Errollyn lives and composes in a Scottish lighthouse.


June 2022
Concerto Grosso performed by Academy of Saint Martin in the Field CLASSICAL COMMONWEALTH Part 2 Errollyn Wallen Composer of the Week Jan 3 - 7 2022
Watch this thrilling performance of Concerto Grosso in a filmed performed by ASMF and conducted by John Butt. Live on Facebook and YouTube at 7.30pm January 21st 2022. Errollyn Wallen unravels more stories of how classical music fused with local musical traditions across the British Commonwealth, speaking to acclaimed South African double-bassist Leon Bosch, Canadian indigenous composers Cris Derksen and T. Patrick Carrabre, and the Jamaican musical polymath Peter Ashbourne, who works across the genres of classical, jazz and reggae.

Errollyn explores the remarkable hybrid musical identities at play in the nations of South Africa and Jamaica - and tells the fascinating and complex story of how the music of Canada's indigenous communities has been celebrated by a new generation of composers and performers seeking to capture their cultural "in-between"-ness in sound.

Errollyn is also joined by the music historians Stephen Banfield and Wayne Weaver, as well as the Thai-American cellist and researcher Jon Silpayamanant, to explore challenging questions around our reception (and sometimes neglect) of this music in a postcolonial era. In celebrating and championing this repertoire - how much do we also need to confront ideas of musical colonialism? What does this all tell us about how musical culture was disseminated - and sometimes imposed - across the British Empire? And what should we make of it today?

An Overcoat Media production for BBC Radio 3
Producer: Steven Rajam
Donald Macleod chats to composer Errollyn Wallen about her heritage and musical upbringing.

Belize-born British composer Errollyn Wallen has been called a “renaissance woman of contemporary music”. She’s a remarkably versatile and prolific composer, pianist and songwriter and one of our most in-demand musical voices today. She was the first black woman to have a piece performed at the Proms. In 1998, her music opened the 2012 Paralympic games. She's even been performed in space, aboard Nasa’s STS115 mission. Wallen writes in a kaleidoscopic range of styles; her music constantly crosses and re-crosses musical boundaries and it brims over with a sense of adventure and delight. All this week, Donald Macleod gets to know Errollyn as she dials into his studio from her Scottish lighthouse where she retreats to concentrate on her work.
FIND OUT MORE> FIND OUT MORE:> Find out more>