Donald Macleod chats to composer Errollyn Wallen about her life and work

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. 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.

Music Featured:

I Wouldn’t Normally Say
It’s a Quarter to Nine
Percussion Concerto (2nd movement – excerpt)
Louis’ Loops
My Granny Sarah
Woogie Boogie
Concerto Grosso
Horseplay (1st and 2nd movements)
In Our Lifetime
It all depends on you (excerpt)
The Girl in My Alphabet
Three Ships (IV – Some Trouble)
Red (Homage to Rodrigo)
Greenwich Variations
What’s Up Doc?
Five Postcards
About Here
Of Crumpling Rocks
Are you worried about the rising cost of funerals? (i. beehive; iv. guru)
Peace on Earth
Jerusalem, our clouded hills
gun gun gun
Mighty River
Cello Concerto (excerpt)
See That I am God

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Amelia Parker for BBC Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Errollyn Wallen

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here:

from Composer of the Week