Judith Weir

Judith Weir

Judith Weir’s interests in narrative, folklore and theatre have found expression in a broad range of musical invention. She is the composer and librettist of several widely performed operas whose diverse sources include Icelandic sagas, Chinese Yuan Dynasty drama and German Romanticism. Folk music from the British Isles and beyond has influenced an extensive series of string and piano compositions. For many years she has worked, in England and India, with storyteller Vayu Naidu; and on film and music collaborations with director Margaret Williams. She spent some time as resident composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and has also written music for the Boston Symphony, BBC Symphony and Minnesota Orchestras.

Weir is the composer and librettist of a series of operas (King Harald’s Saga, The Black Spider, A Night at the Chinese Opera, The Vanishing Bridegroom and Blond Eckbert) which have been frequently performed in Europe and America. She has written concert works for some notable singers, including Jane Manning, Dawn Upshaw, Jessye Norman and Alice Coote. Together with film director Margaret Williams, she has written music and screenplay for several film operas, including Scipio’s Dream, Hello Dolly, and Armida.

Folk music from the British Isles and beyond has influenced an extensive group of string and piano compositions written for Domus, the Florestan Trio and the Schubert Ensemble. Her longtime collaborators include storyteller Vayu Naidu, with whom she has performed music and folk tales in England and India. Her growing choral catalogue began with Illuminare,Jerusalem (1985) a carol first heard in the King’s College Cambridge Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Judith Weir’s most recent major work is her opera Miss Fortune, which received its first performances at the 2011 Bregenz Festival, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and designed by Tom Pye. This production will open at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in March 2012; there will also be a new production staged at Santa Fe in 2014. Weir wrote the opening work of the 2011 BBC Proms, Stars, Night, Music and Light, for chorus, orchestra and organ; and she is now working on a new piece for string orchestra, commissioned by the Britten-Pears Foundation/Royal Philharmonic Society.

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