Wigmore Hall announce lockdown commissions: 'we want new voices'

Previous applicants need not apply, says artistic director John Gilhooly, who particularly welcomes female, BAME and LGBTQ+ composers

The Wigmore Hall today announces a search for new voices to offer their perspective on this extraordinary year. The central London concert hall is launching an international call for composers to apply for a paid commission to write a piece of music that reflects their lockdown experience.

Composers must be 18 or over, and have never been commissioned by the Wigmore Hall before. And, should those who might feel that their face doesn’t fit in the classical music world wonder if it is worth their while bothering, the Hall is particularly keen to hear from composers who have been underrepresented in its commissioning so far. “We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, and in particular we would like to encourage applications from female, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic disabled and LGBTI composers,” said artistic and executive director John Gilhooly.

Looking for new voices: Wigmore Hall’s John Gilhooly
Looking for new voices: Wigmore Hall’s John Gilhooly Photograph: Kaupo Kikkas

“Since 2005, Wigmore Hall has commissioned or co-commissioned over 500 new works from composers all over the world. We are looking for new voices in this project.”

Gilhooly’s commitment to widen access and to programme artists from diverse backgrounds is already apparent in concerts that focus on the work of Julius Eastman, and songs and chamber music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor among the live-streamed autumn 2020 season currently under way.

An independent panel that includes composers Daniel Kidane, Freya Waley-Cohen and Errollyn Wallen will select 12 composers whose works will have their premiere at the Wigmore Hall throughout 2022.

“For some, lockdown has been a time of anxiety and despair, of isolation and crisis, of discrimination and inequality. For others it has been a time of renewal and reflection, resolve and occasionally joy. By commissioning 12 new works, we want to reflect all of these and many other situations. This is not just a reaction to the pandemic, but to any world or political events in this period that have inspired composers,” said Gilhooly.


Imogen Tilden

The GuardianTramp

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