Roxanna Panufnik is one of the most versatile and beloved British composers working today. She studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music and her works for opera, ballet, choirs, orchestras and chamber music and music for film and television are performed all over the world.
Roxanna has a great love of world music – this has culminated in her Four World Seasons for violinist Tasmin Little, the world premiere of which was picked by BBC Radio 3 to launch their Music Nations weekend, celebrating the London Olympics; her multi-faith Warner Classics CD Love Abide (www.loveabide.com) and Dance of Life: Tallinn Mass for Tallinn Philharmonic (www.tallinnmass.com), commissioned to celebrate Tallinn’s reign as European Capital of Culture.
She is especially interested in building musical bridges between faiths and her first project in this field was the violin concerto Abraham, commissioned for Daniel Hope, incorporating Christian, Islamic and Jewish chant to create a musical analogy for the fact that these three faiths believe in the same one God. This work was subsequently converted into overture Three Paths to Peace commissioned by the World Orchestra for Peace and premiered in Jerusalem and London under the baton of Valery Gergiev, in 2008 and at the 2014 BBC Proms. The BBC Last Night of the Proms in 2018 commissioned and premiered Songs of Darkness, Dreams of Light which brought together Jewish text, modes, Maronite Syriac chant and Sufi rhythm and structure.
Roxanna’s 50th Birthday year saw some exciting commissions and premieres. As well as the Proms, the oratorio Faithful Journey – a Mass for Poland for City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Poland, marked Poland’s centenary as an independent state. Recent commissions include Across the Line of Dreams for two conductors, two choirs and symphony orchestra premiered by Marin Alsop and Valentina Peleggi with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Ever Us commissioned by the Rundfunkchor Berlin, for 10 choirs and symphony orchestra, to premiere in 2024/25. Her operas, Silver Birch and Dalia commissioned by Garsington Opera received audience and critical acclaim.
Biography taken from composer’s website.
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega