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Wallen, Errollyn (b1958)
© Azzurra Primavera

Errollyn Wallen

born: 10 April 1958
country: United Kingdom

Errollyn Wallen—“renaissance woman of contemporary British music” (The Observer)—is as respected a singer-songwriter of pop-influenced songs as she is a composer of contemporary music. Communication is at the centre of both worlds: engaging the audience and speaking directly to hearts and minds.

Born in Belize, Errollyn Wallen gave up her training at the Dance Theater of Harlem, New York to study composition at the universities of London and Cambridge. She founded her own Ensemble X, and its motto ‘We don’t break down barriers in music … we don’t see any’ reflects her genuine, free-spirited approach and eclectic musicianship. She has been commissioned by outstanding music institutions from the BBC to the Royal Opera House and has performed her songs internationally.

Her prolific output includes seventeen operas to date and awards include the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music, British Composer Award and a FIPA D’Or for Best Music for a Television Series. Errollyn founded her own Orchestra X whose album Photography was voted Top Ten Classical Albums by USA’s National Public Radio. Her works Principia and Spirit in Motion were commissioned for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games and their première was watched by a capacity audience of 80,000 people and broadcast to a billion people around the world. Errollyn Wallen’s albums (Errollyn, The Girl in My Alphabet, Meet Me at Harold Moores) have travelled 7.84 million kilometres in space, completing 186 orbits around the Earth on NASA’s STS115 mission. In 2020, Errollyn composed a new arrangement of Jerusalem for the BBC Last Night of the Proms.

Errollyn Wallen was appointed MBE in 2007 and CBE in 2020, both for services to music. In 2017 Errollyn was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from York St John’s University and was named in BBC’s 100 Women 2018 and London University’s 150 Leading Women.


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