Malala Yousafzai’s 2013 UN speech set to music

Speak Out commission part of BBC Radio 3's programming for International Women's Day

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai's speech to the UN in 2013, about every girl's right to an education, has been set to music for the first time, by composer Kate Whitley. Speak Out is a BBC Radio 3 commission and will be premiered by the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales and conductor Xian Zhang, and broadcast by Radio 3, on 8 March, International Women's Day.


'As the speech is a call to raise our voices, it makes me very happy that it will be sung by a large choir, that so many voices will rise to share the message of education for all,' says Yousafzai.

It's part of a whole day of celebrations of female composers and performers on Radio 3, which will also see six leading female composers guest-edit programmes: Alissa Firsova (Breakfast), Sally Beamish (Essential Classics), Tansy Davies (Afternoon on 3), Errollyn Wallen (In Tune), Annette Peacock (Late Junction) and Kerry Andrew (Late Junction Mixtape).

Two other world premieres will be heard on 8 March: works by Sasha Johnson Manning and Dobrinka Tabakova will be performed live by Truro Cathedral Choir, with its girl choristers making their first appearance on Radio 3.

Historical women composers will also be championed: Donald Macleod turns a spotlight on the music and work of female musicians in 16th-century Ferrara in Composer of the Week and Andrew McGregor explores recordings of Ethel Smyth's music in Record Review.

Radio 3's wider project to discover and record music by forgotten women composers takes another step forward on International Women's Day, with the announcement of the names to be recorded by the BBC Orchestras for future broadcast.

Read more:


• 10 female composers you should know