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Music to my Ears: Composer Errollyn Wallen

Composer Errollyn Wallen joins our editorial assistant Freya Parr over Zoom from her home in a lighthouse in the Highlands of Scotland. She tells us all about the role composers have played over the last year, the teacher who made her fall in love with Prokofiev, the importance of playing Bach in her everyday life and how she’s transforming Purcell’s story of Dido and Aeneas for opera audiences in 2021

Published: December 10, 2020 at 11:30 am

BBC Music Magazine speaks to the Belize-born British composer Errollyn Wallen about her busy year of composing in lockdown, the music she surrounds herself with every day and the concerts she’ll never forget.


Wallen was recently commissioned to write a new arrangement of Jerusalem for the Last Night of the Proms. A selection of her choral works, performed by the Choir of King’s College Cambridge, is out now on the King’s College label.

Errollyn spoke to us from her home in the highlands of Scotland, where she lives in a lighthouse off the coast of Strathy.

Recordings featured:

Errollyn Wallen: Jerusalem (BBC Proms 2020)

Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kije Op. 60: IV. Troika (Scottish National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi Chandos CHAN10481X)

Britten: Peter Grimes: Act III Scene I: We’ll Find Him, Maybe Give Him a Hand (Erin Wall, Roderick Williams, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Edward Gardner Chandos CHSA5250)

Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C BWV846 (Alexandre Tharaud (piano) Warner Classics 9029518087)

Ravel Piano Concerto: II. Adagio assai (Martha Argerich (piano), Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana/Alexander Vedernikov DG 4474382)

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas (Dido’s Lament) (Lynne Dawson (soprano), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Clare College Choir/René Jacobs Harmonia Mundi HMG501683)

You can buy Errollyn Wallen's latest album Peace on Earth from the following outlets:

Stream the album here:

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