Judith Weir

b. 1954

British

Summary

Judith Weir (b 1954 to Scottish parents in Cambridge, England) studied composition with John Tavener, Robin Holloway and Gunther Schuller. On leaving Cambridge University in 1976 she taught in England and Scotland, and in the mid-1990s became Associate Composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Artistic Director of Spitalfields Festival. She was a Visiting Professor at Princeton (2001) Harvard (2004) and Cardiff (2006-13) and in 2014 was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music. In 2015 she became Associate Composer to the BBC Singers.

She is the composer of several operas (written for Kent Opera, Scottish Opera, ENO and Bregenz) which have been widely performed. She has written orchestral music for the BBC Symphony, Boston Symphony and Minnesota Orchestras. Much of her music has been recorded, and is available on the NMC, Delphian and Signum labels. She blogs about her cultural experiences at www.judithweir.com.
Critical Acclaim
...this fascinating piece [CONCRETE], at once incisive and elusive, listener-friendly but potent in substance, is typical of Weir’s compositional craft and imagination… — Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph

With her three-out-of-three success rate, Judith Weir must be considered one of the most successful British opera composers since Britten. — Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times

Biography

Judith Weir was born into a Scottish family in 1954, but grew up near London. She was an oboe player, performing with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and studied composition with John Tavener during her schooldays. She went on to Cambridge University, where her composition teacher was Robin Holloway; and in 1975 attended summer school at Tanglewood, where she worked with Gunther Schuller. After this she spent several years working in schools and adult education in rural southern England; followed by a period based in Scotland, teaching at Glasgow University and RSAMD.

During this time she began to write a series of operas (including King Harald’s Saga, The Black Spider, A Night at the Chinese Opera, The Vanishing Bridegroom, Blond Eckbert and Miss Fortune) which have subsequently received many performances in the UK, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA.

As resident composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s, she wrote several works for orchestra and chorus (including Forest, Storm and We are Shadows) which were premiered by the orchestra’s then Music Director, Simon Rattle. She has been commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Music Untangled and Natural History) the Minnesota Orchestra (The Welcome Arrival of Rain), Adelaide, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras (Oboe Concerto) and the London Sinfonietta (Tiger under the Table); and has written concert works for some notable singers, including Jane Manning, Dawn Upshaw, Jessye Norman, Alice Coote and Sarah Connolly.

She now lives in London, where she has had a long association with Spitalfields Music Festival; and in recent years has taught as a visiting professor at Princeton, Harvard and Cardiff universities. Honours for her work include the Critics’ Circle, South Bank Show, Elise L Stoeger and Ivor Novello awards, a CBE (1995) and the Queen’s Medal for Music (2007). In 2014 she was appointed Master of The Queen’s Music in succession to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. From 2015 to 2019 she was Associate Composer to the BBC Singers during which time she wrote two major choral pieces, In the Land of Uz and blue hills beyond blue hills.

Much of her music has been recorded, and is available on the NMC, Delphian and Signum labels among others. 

News

Performances

10th August 2020

PERFORMERS
Opera North Youth Chorus
LOCATION
UK

11th August 2020

PERFORMERS
Opera North Youth Chorus
LOCATION
UK

12th August 2020

PERFORMERS
Opera North Youth Chorus
LOCATION
UK

16th October 2020

SOLOISTS
Ruby Hughes, soprano Julius Drake, piano Natalie Clein, cello
LOCATION
Inner Temple / London / United Kingdom

16th October 2020

SOLOISTS
Ruby Hughes, soprano Julius Drake, piano Natalie Clein, cello
LOCATION
Inner Temple / London / United Kingdom

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