Shirley Joy Thompson

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Shirley Joy Thompson is an artist, cultural activist and award-winning composer, who received an honorary fellowship in 2022.

The conceptual music of award-winning composer Shirley Joy Thompson has been performed and screened worldwide, and described as "superb" (Le Figaro) and "powerful and striking" (BBC Radio 3).

A visionary artist and cultural activist, Thompson is thought to be the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony within the last 40 years. The work, 'New Nation Rising: A 21st Century London Symphony' is an epic musical story celebrating London’s thousand-year history. Nearly 200 performers – including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, two choirs, a rapper and dhol drummers – took part in its first recording.

Thompson has consistently demonstrated in her work a belief in the transformative power of music to effect social, cultural and political change.

In 2019 she was appointed an OBE for services to music, and in 2022 she was awarded an honorary fellowship by Goldsmiths. 

She is currently a Professor of Music at the University of Westminster.