black England, black london, black UK

Thompson is the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony within the last 40 years.

Hat tip: Euromight

Source: Jamaica Gleaner

Shirley Thompson

Born and brought up in east London to Jamaican parents, Dr Shirley J. Thompson has gained a reputation for her innovative approach in 21st-century composition, fusing classical and popular music styles with elements of her cultural heritage. A cutting-edge composer, her music is performed, screened and broadcast worldwide. The Voice (UK) describes her as “One of Britain’s most visionary, imaginative and pioneering composers”.

Thompson’s musical experience began with her playing the violin for youth symphony orchestras in London, as well as choral singing with local choirs in Newham. After studying music at the University of Liverpool and specialising in composition at Goldsmiths’ College, her first major commission, titled Visions, was produced for the Greenwich International Festival. In 1995, Thompson established her own chamber orchestra, The Shirley Thompson Ensemble.

“I’ve had a vision of orchestral performances since childhood and was encouraged to compose for orchestra by Dr Olive Lewin in 1998 when I first came to Jamaica to perform with my own chamber orchestra at the Ward Theatre, as part of the Season of Excellence,”

Dr Thompson reminisced.

Thompson is the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony within the last 40 years.

Read the Jamaica Gleaner’s full story.

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