A new BBC Radio 3 choral commission to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage
The relatives of Emmeline Pankhurst have written a choral piece to celebrate the occasion
A new choral work has been commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to commemorate 100 years since women were granted the vote. The Pankhurst Anthem is composed by Lucy Pankhurst, with text by writer and women’s rights activist Helen Pankhurst, based on the words of her great-grandmother, the leader of the British suffragette movement Emmeline Pankhurst.
The piece will be performed in two parts – ‘Echoes of Emmeline’ and ‘Anthem’, and is designed to be sung by choirs of any size, with an uncomplicated melody to encourage others to perform it.
‘Working with Helen has been such a wonderful experience’, says Lucy. ‘Her stirring words, derived from those of Emmeline Pankhurst, are so powerfully emotive – setting them to music was a very humbling experience’.
The Pankhurst Anthem will be premiered online, performed by BBC Singers and conducted by Hilary Campbell, and will be available to be available to view on the BBC Radio 3 website from 6 February to mark the date of the centenary of women’s suffrage. The vocal scores will also be on the Radio 3 website on this date, available to download free to sing with your choir.
The live premiere will take place on the opening day of Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead on 9 March.
The March issue of BBC Music Magazine will include radio and live listings of other concerts celebrating International Women’s Day and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.