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Joan Armatrading to premiere first symphony in London

By | Published on Wednesday 26 April 2023

Joan Armatrading

Having celebrated her 50th anniversary in music last year, Joan Armatrading has announced that she will hold the world premiere of her first symphony in London later this year.

“I have always known that I would write a classical piece at some point in my life”, she says. “One day, I was in my studio and out of the blue I decided that this was the day”.

“I started with the melodic second movement”, she adds, “it felt to me like writing a song. I then wrote the first movement and, finally, I wrote the other three movements in 2022. All in all, to write the complete symphony took roughly five months. It has no theme as such but aims to be uplifting”.

“As usual I stayed in the way of composing that I have done when I write pop songs”, she continues. “I’m just myself. I didn’t write the symphony thinking I wanted it to be like anyone but Joan”.

‘Symphony No 1’ is set to be performed by the Chineke! Orchestra at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank Centre on 24 Nov.

Founder of the orchestra, Chi-chi Nwanoku, comments: “The Chineke! Orchestra are THRILLED to be performing the world premiere of Joan Armatrading’s first symphony at the Southbank Centre. Armatrading’s pioneering spirit and ability to break boundaries has been a source of inspiration for generations of music lovers and musicians, and it’s an honour to bring her latest composition to life on stage”.

“This symphony is a stunning display of her creativity and skill, and we can’t wait for audiences to experience its unique blend of classical and contemporary influences”, she adds.

This is all well and good of course, but I’m sure you’re all worried about how the publishing revenues from all this are going to be handled. Well, the good news is that Armatrading has signed a deal with Boosey & Hawkes to publish the piece.

“What a wonderful surprise when Joan Armatrading arrived in our offices clutching a score and Midi recording of her new symphony”, says Boosey & Hawkes MD Janis Susskind.

“Having been a longstanding fan of this living legend, I was delighted to learn that Joan’s musical orbit now encompasses full symphony orchestra. We look forward to spreading the word far and wide and to many more performances following the Chineke! premiere”.

Following that premiere of Armatrading’s symphony in November, there will also be a performance of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Symphony No 5’. More info here.