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Errollyn Wallen

b. 1958

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Errollyn Wallen is a multi award-winning Belize-born British composer and performer. Her prolific output includes twenty-two operas and a large catalogue of orchestral, chamber and vocal works which are performed and broadcast throughout the world. She was the first black woman to have a work featured in the Proms and the first woman to receive an Ivor Novello award for Classical Music for her body of work. Errollyn composed for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games 2012, for the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees, a specially commissioned song for the climate change conference, COP 26, 2021, and a re-imagining of Jerusalem for BBC’s Last Night of the Proms 2020. She is one of the top 20 most performed living composers of classical music in the world.

BBC Radio 3 featured her music across the first week of 2022 for its flagship programme, Composer of the Week and she has made several radio documentaries including
Classical Commonwealth, nominated for the Prix Europa, which explored the impact of colonialism on music in the Commonwealth. Her carol, Peace on Earth was part of the Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast from King’s College, Cambridge at Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2022.

Errollyn Wallen founded her own group, Ensemble X whose motto is “we don’t break down barriers in music…we don’t see any”. Their orchestral album PHOTOGRAPHY on the NMC label was voted a Top Ten Classical Album by USA’s National Public Radio. Orchestra X performed Errollyn’s composition Mighty River, which was featured in PRSF’s New Music Biennial 2017 and which was performed at this year’s PRSF Biennial by National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain Inspire at Coventry Cathedral and the Southbank, London.

Errollyn Wallen collaborated with artist Sonia Boyce on her installation, Feeling Her Way, for the British Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale which won the Golden Lion prize for Best National Participation.

Errollyn’s albums have travelled 7.84 million kilometres in space, completing 186 orbits around the Earth on NASA’s STS115 mission.

Errollyn was awarded an MBE in 2007 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and a CBE in 2020 in the New Year Honours, for services to music.

Errollyn lives and composes in a Scottish lighthouse.

Biography taken from composer’s website.
Photo: Azzurra Primavera

For Airi | 2009 | 8 mins

Solo Violin

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Fairy Scary | 2005

Voice, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Cello, Piano

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Gastarbeiter | 1994

Mezzo Soprano (voice), Clarinet, Viola, Double Bass, Percussion

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gun gun gun | 2018 | 7 mins

Soprano (voice), Bass Clarinet, Harp, Double Bass

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Having Gathered His Cohorts | 1991

Baritone (voice)2 Clarinets

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I Hate Waiting | 1991

Voice, Clarinet, Sax, Trumpet, Piano, Electric Bass/Double Bass, Percussion, Tape

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Mondrian | 1992

Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet/Sax, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Piano, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Double Bass

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Mythologies | 1988

Clarinet, Sax, Violin, Cello, Piano, Percussion

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NNENNA | 2018 | 12 mins

Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass

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Skip | 2005 | 1 mins

Clarinet And Piano

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Still Lives | 1983

Flute, Clarinet, Vibrapone, Cello

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