Spotlight on Judith Weir including orchestral works, opera and a world premiere

Spotlight on Judith Weir including orchestral works, opera and a world premiere
© Ben Ealovega

A series of performances taking place in London and Edinburgh over the course of the coming weeks shines a spotlight on the rich and varied output of composer Judith Weir. The concerts include orchestral and chamber works and opera, as well as the world premiere of a new orchestral piece for amateur performers.

Vocal music features prominently. On February 25, baritone Roderick Williams will perform Weir’s song cycle Good Morning, Midnight with members of Aurora at King’s Place. Originally written for mezzo soprano, and setting poetry by Emily Dickinson and Kathleen Jamie among others, this is the first time that the piece has been performed by a baritone. At the Wigmore Hall, there will be performances of song cycles The Voice of Desire by mezzo Rowan Hellier and pianist Sholto Kynoch and Natural History by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Anna Tilbrook on March 8 and 11 respectively.

Students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama will stage a production of Miss Fortune from February 28 to March 7. This 2011 opera is a contemporary re-telling of a Sicilian folk tale in which the central character, on finding herself suddenly destitute, makes a deal with Fate which is followed by surprising consequences.

As part of events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Barbican concert hall on March 4, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Sakari Oramo with narrator Jamie Parker will revive Weir’s 2008 ‘motet about London’ CONCRETE, which pays homage not only to the Brutalist icon but also the many layers of history that lie beneath its foundations. A few days later, on March 9, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chief Conductor Edward Gardner will perform Forest, whose title refers to the organic way in which the piece emerged over the course of composition.

New Every Morning is the title of Weir’s latest piece, which has been commissioned by the New Edinburgh Orchestra who will give the world premiere on March 19 under their conductor Tim Paxton. The piece continues Weir’s commitment to amateur music-making and celebrates the memory of one of the orchestra’s former players, Buzzy Murray. It was composed during lockdown and Weir has written about the composition process and early rehearsals on her blog in which she charts her own activities and UK musical life as part of her role as Master of the Queen’s Music.

Read our Judith Weir opera brochure

Performance details

February 25
Good Morning, Midnight
Roderick Williams, baritone; Aurora Orchestra; Nicholas Collon, conductor
Kings Place, London

February 28, March 2, 4, 7
Miss Fortune
Guildhall School Students; Dominic Wheeler, conductor;
Martin Lloyd-Evans, director; Anna Reid, designer; Anthony Doran, lighting designer
Silk Street Theatre, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London

March 4
BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; Jamie Parker, speaker; Sakari Oramo, conductor
Barbican, London
Concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Barbican concert hall

March 8 (1pm)
The Voice of Desire
Rowan Hellier, mezzo soprano; Sholto Kynoch, piano
Wigmore Hall, London
Concert celebrating International Women's Day

March 8
The Prelude
Emma Halnan, flute; Tailleferre Ensemble
Holy Redeemer Church, Clerkenwell, London
Concert celebrating International Women's Day

March 9
London Philharmonic Orchestra; Edward Gardner, conductor
Royal Festival Hall, London

March 11
Natural History
Lucy Crowe, soprano; Anna Tilbrook, piano
Wigmore Hall, London

March 16 (and available online for one week)
Portrait Concert
Students of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Online (GSMD website)
Early evening online concert celebrating the solo and chamber works of Judith Weir

March 19
New Every Morning  WORLD PREMIERE
New Edinburgh Orchestra; Tim Paxton, conductor
Inverleith St Serf's Parish Church, Edinburgh

March 24
Sinfonia Comatica
London Sinfonietta; Patrick Bailey, conductor
Royal Festival Hall, London
Live and livestreamed concert for young people aged 7 to 13


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