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1. Roots

Donald Macleod chats to Errollyn Wallen, one of Britain’s most in-demand composers. Today is about her connection to Belize, and how her family and childhood influence her work.

Donald Macleod chats to composer Errollyn Wallen about her heritage and musical upbringing.

Belize-born British composer Errollyn Wallen has been called a “renaissance woman of contemporary music”. She’s a remarkably versatile and prolific composer, pianist and songwriter and one of our most in-demand musical voices today. She was the first black woman to have a piece performed at the Proms in 1998 and her music opened the 2012 Paralympic games. She's even been performed in space, aboard Nasa’s STS115 mission. Wallen writes in a kaleidoscopic range of styles; her music constantly crosses and re-crosses musical boundaries and it brims over with a sense of adventure and delight. All this week, Donald Macleod gets to know Errollyn as she dials into his studio from her Scottish lighthouse where she retreats to concentrate on her work.

Today, we hear about Errollyn’s deep connection to Belize and her childhood musical memories. She was brought up in London to a soundtrack of Ella Fitzgerald and calypso. When she discovered the piano, she had to be begged not to practice. Errollyn's first ever composition was written for her sisters to sing walking to primary school, and family has since been a thread through her work.

I Wouldn’t Normally Say
Elena Riu, piano

It’s a Quarter to Nine
Hull Music Hub Massed Choir
Errollyn Wallen, piano
Charles McDougall, conductor

Percussion Concerto (2nd movement – excerpt)
Colin Currie, percussion
National Youth Orchestra
Paul Daniel, conductor

Louis’ Loops
Margaret Leng Tan, toy piano

Photography
Ensemble X
Nicholas Kok, conductor

NNENNA
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Ryan Bancroft, conductor

My Granny Sarah
National Youth Choir of Great Britain
Ben Parry, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker

4 days left to listen

59 minutes

Last on

Mon 3 Jan 2022 12:00

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Music Played

  • Errollyn Wallen

    I Wouldn't Normally Say

    Performer: Elena Riu.
    • SOMM237.
    • SOMM.
    • 20.
  • Errollyn Wallen

    It's a Quarter to Nine

    Performer: Hull Music Hub Massed Choir. Performer: Errollyn Wallen. Conductor: Charles MacDougall.
  • Errollyn Wallen

    Percussion Concerto (2nd movement - excerpt)

    Performer: Colin Currie. Orchestra: National Youth Chamber Orchestra Of G.B.. Conductor: Paul Daniel.
  • Errollyn Wallen

    Louis' Loops

    Performer: Margaret Leng Tan.
    • AVIE: AV 0006.
    • AVIE.
    • 7.
  • Errollyn Wallen

    Photography

    Ensemble: Ensemble X. Conductor: Nicholas Kok.
    • NMC: D221.
    • NMC.
    • 3.
  • Errollyn Wallen

    NNENNA

    Orchestra: BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Conductor: Ryan Bancroft.
  • Errollyn Wallen

    My Granny Sarah

    Choir: National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Conductor: Ben Parry.

Broadcast

  • Mon 3 Jan 2022 12:00

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