|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
|ISM 2020 DISTINGUISHED MUSICIAN AWARD TO ERROLLYN||QUAMINO'S MAP: new opera for Chicago Opera Theatre||DIDO'S GHOST at Edinburgh International Festival|
|Belize-born British composer, pianist and singer-songwriter, Errollyn Wallen CBE has been announced as the recipient of the 2020 ISM Distinguished Musician Award, one of the highest honours within the music industry, for services to music.||Music by Errollyn Wallen
Libretto by Deborah Brevoort
A story about the enduring pull of freedom – and the ends to which people will go to achieve it.
Juba Freeman arrives in London after winning his freedom from slavery by fighting for the British in the Revolutionary War. Thrown headfirst into British society, he meets Amelia Alumond, a member of the British Black gentry, and reconnects with other ex-slaves who are struggling to build new lives for themselves as free men. Inspired by historical events, the opera sheds a light on a forgotten corner of history – and challenges current assumptions of what life was like in 18th-century London for a person of colour.
Saturday, April 23, 2022 @ 7:30pm
Friday, April 29, 2022 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, May 1, 2022 @ 3pm
|Composed to a libretto by Wesley Stace, and incorporating Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, DIDO'S GHOST is a commission from Dunedin Consort, Barbican Centre, Mahogany Opera,Edinburgh International Festival, Buxton International Festival and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale. After a triumphant premiere at the Barbican Centre on June 6th and an enthusiastic reception at Buxton Festival it received its Scottish premiere at Edinburgh Festival on August 20th with performances August 21 and 22. It was received with rave reviews.|
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