Shirley Thompson OBE

23rd October 2020

A visionary artist and cultural activist, Professor Shirley Thompson OBE is the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony within the last 40 years. New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony, performed and recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, is an epic musical story celebrating London’s thousand-year history, and one in which the RPO is accompanied by two choirs, solo singers, a rapper, and dhol drummers, a total of nearly 200 performers. This extraordinary work was originally commissioned to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, and the concept was latterly assumed as a framework for the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. She has also composed extensively for TV/film, theatre, dance and opera production, always driven by the belief in the transformative power of music to effect social, cultural, and political change. She was honoured with an OBE for Services to Music after years innovating the classical music forms and attracting new audiences to classical music/opera with her sound that represents a progressive Britain.