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Photo of Errollyn Wallen MBE

Errollyn Wallen MBE

Errollyn Wallen was made an MBE in 2007 and was the first black woman to have her work performed at the proms.

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Department Music
Programme BMus (Hons) Music

In May 2013 Errollyn was awarded an Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music, but she refuses to rest on her laurels. “Winning any award embarrasses me at first, then I think, well I’d better live up to this award as everyone’s made such a fuss – and I must work even harder!” she says. “I’m driven by my love and never-waning enthusiasm for music and how it is made.”  She studied BMus Music at Goldsmiths. 

“My main memory of Goldsmiths is of practicing the piano for ten hours at a stretch” she says “But what was so great for me was being able to go to events every night. Being in London meant that I could immerse myself in live music.” 

This immersion, and interest, in different styles of music is something that is evident in all of Errollyn’s compositions, which often take their inspiration from less classical forms. Her free-spirited approach to composition, and her willingness to push boundaries and take on challenging projects, has earnt her the title of‘ ‘the renaissance woman of contemporary British music’ from The Observer. 

One of her biggest challenges was undoubtedly the composition of two mighty works (PRINCIPIA and Spirit in Motion) for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics, which she lists as her proudest achievement. “Being in the Olympic stadium as my work was transmitted to a billion people around the world was mind-boggling!” she says. 

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