It was announced on 29 June 2014 that Judith Weir would become the UK's next Master of the Queen's Music.
British composer Judith Weir was born in Cambridge to Scottish parents on 11 May 1954, studying a little with John Tavener whilst she was still at school, and playing oboe with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. At Cambridge she studied music with Robin Holloway, and also attended the Tanglewood Summer School for studies with Gunther Schuller.
Weir's musical language is conservative, and she has the knack (similar to Benjamin Britten) of making simple ideas appear mysterious. She's best known for her operatic and theatre work, often inspired by medieval history and Scottish traditional culture, but is also known for orchestral, chamber and more recently choral music.
She has held positions as artistic director of the Spitalfields Festival (1995-2000) and composer in association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1995-98). She has also written music for the Boston Symphony, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. in 2008 she was the subject of a BBC composer weekend at London's Barbican Centre. She has also taught as a visiting professor at Cardiff, Harvard and Princeton.
In 1997 she received the Lincoln Center's Stoeger Prize and in 2001 the South Bank Show music award. In 2007 she received the Queen's Medal for Music.
In her new appointment, Weir succeeds a long line of historical British composers, beginning with Nicholas Lanier in 1626, but also including William Boyce, Edward Elgar, Walford Davies, Arnold Bax and Arthur Bliss. The post was traditionally held for life - the longest serving being John Eccles, who served four monarchs over thirty-five years - but beginning with Peter Maxwell Davies in 2004, the position became a ten-year appointment, and Maxwell Davies completed his duties in March 2014.
Posted: 1 July 2014
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