|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
|BLACK CANTABS: HISTORY MAKERS||Weinrebe lecture at Wolfson College Oxford February 12th 2019||ERROLLYN WALLEN: BBC 100 WOMEN 2018|
|Errollyn Wallen's photographic portrait is featured in a groundbreaking exhibition at Cambridge University Library. telling the stories of black students in Cambridge, from the forgotten pioneers of centuries past to the celebrated successes of today.
The exhibition runs to December 22nd.
|Errollyn is honoured to have been invited to give the Weinrebe Lecture at Wolfson College, Oxford on February 12th 2019. She will discuss how she approaches the characterisation of historical, living and fictional people in her work.||BBC 100 Women has announced its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2018.
With their help we will explore a variety of themes, including using anger to spark action, and uncovering women from the shadows of history.
Ranging in age from 15 to 94, and from more than 60 countries, the BBC 100 Women list includes leaders, trailblazers and everyday heroes.
Some will be telling us about what they will be putting in the Freedom Trash Can - our digital bin for all the items women feel hold them back.
Others will bring us stories of achievement against the odds - from the British woman who used her jail time to create an inspiring business, to the Afghan girl who was almost swapped for a boy.
The BBC 100 Women of 2018 are listed in alphabetical order below, with their age, profession, country of birth and biography.
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