|Errollyn Wallen’s piano quintet “Music for Tigers” (2006) is as picturesque as Mr. Snow’s work, if not as overtly comic. But Ms. Wallen’s vital rhythms and inventive melodies keep her work lively, and the players — Alicia Choi and Heidi Schaul-Yoder, violinists; Eva Gerard, violist; Mimi Yu, cellist; and Hsiang John Tu, pianist — gave her work, like the others, a firm, warm-spirited and finely polished performance.
Article by Allan Kozinn
NY Times 26/07/2010
What got you started?
Coming out of hospital after an operation when I was five to find a piano in the living room. My parents had to beg me to stop practising.
What was your big breakthrough?
Forming Ensemble X in 1990 to perform my music. I wanted to give concerts I would like to go to myself. At our first concert, we handed out Mars bars.
What's the biggest myth about composing?
That it's a rarefied activity carried out by dead white men in wigs.
What song would feature on the soundtrack to your life?
Dido's Lament from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. There's something transcendent about it.
Do you suffer for your art?
Sometimes. While I was writing the oratorio Carbon-12 for Welsh National Opera earlier this year, I told myself I could eat as much as I liked as long as I kept going: I gained 10lbs.
What's your favourite film?
Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker. I first saw it as a student, and loved the fact I wasn't always sure what was going on.
In the movie of your life, who plays you?
Pam Grier. I'd like to be as sexy as her.
What's your favourite museum?
The Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia in Rome. There's an amazing Etruscan sarcophagus of a married couple, both wearing mysterious smiles.
What have you sacrificed for your art?
Complete this sentence: At heart I'm just a frustrated ...
Ballet dancer. When I was 12 I wanted to go to ballet school, but my aunt and uncle said they wouldn't send me because they'd never seen a black ballet dancer before. It was terribly painful.
What's the greatest threat to music?
The lack of silence. People seem frightened of silence, yet you have to revere it in order to really celebrate music.
What advice would you give a young composer?
Follow your ears.
What work of art would you most like to own?
Howard Hodgkin's painting Rain. It inspired the mix of one of my songs.
Is there anything about your career you regret?
Not playing the organ for Billy Smart's circus. They called me once about an advert I'd placed offering myself as a keyboard player. I told them I didn't play the organ; now I wish I'd given it a go. In short
Career: Has written songs, chamber music and operas, and released three solo albums. She performs songs from the Errollyn Wallen Songbook at Riverside Studios, London W6 (020-8237 1111) on Thursday.
High point: "Seeing a photograph of my album Errollyn floating in a shuttle in outer space. An astronaut friend had taken it with him."
Low point: "Getting accidentally locked in a basement practice room for 11 hours in 2000."
Interview by Laura Barnett
The Guardian 29/07/2008
|Errollyn presents an important new radio documentary||I'm a Young Black Man — Clean Bandit and Friends||ERROLLYN WALLEN AWARDED CBE IN NEW YEAR HONOURS|
|A RACIST MUSIC
Errollyn Wallen explores and challenges the legacy of John Powell (1882-1963), a once-celebrated composer whose racist politics scarred the lives of generations of Americans.
|As a tribute to George Floyd, Errollyn Wallen made a special arrangement of Johnetta Bryant's unaccompanied song composed for her son Keedron Bryant. Clean Bandit and Friends are Grace Chatto, Sheku and Braimah Kanneh-Mason, Nicola and Stephanie Benedetti||The Queen has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:
To be Ordinary Commanders of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order:
Errollyn Wallen M.B.E.
For services to Music
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