Judith Weir


Judith Weir


Judith Weir was born into a Scottish family in 1954, but grew up near London. She was an oboe player, performing with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and studied composition with John Tavener during her schooldays. She went on to Cambridge University, where her composition teacher was Robin Holloway; and in 1975 attended summer school at Tanglewood, where she worked with Gunther Schuller. After this she spent several years working in schools and adult education in rural southern England; followed by a period based in Scotland, teaching at Glasgow University and RSAMD.

During this time she began to write a series of operas (including King Harald’s Saga, The Black Spider, A Night at the Chinese Opera, The Vanishing Bridegroom and Blond Eckbert) which have subsequently received many performances in the UK, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA. The most recent opera is Miss Fortune, premiered at Bregenz in 2011, and then staged at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 2012.

As resident composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s, she wrote several works for orchestra and chorus (including Forest, Storm and We are Shadows) which were premiered by the orchestra’s then Music Director, Simon Rattle. She has been commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Music Untangled and Natural History) the Minnesota Orchestra (The Welcome Arrival of Rain) and the London Sinfonietta (Tiger under the Table); and has written concert works for some notable singers, including Jane Manning, Dawn Upshaw, Jessye Norman and Alice Coote. Her latest vocal work is Good Morning, Midnight, premiered by Sarah Connolly and the Aurora Orchestra in May 2015.

She now lives in London, where she has had a long association with Spitalfields Music Festival; and in recent years has taught as a visiting professor at Princeton, Harvard and Cardiff universities. Honours for her work include the Critics’ Circle, South Bank Show, Elise L Stoeger and Ivor Novello awards, a CBE (1995) and the Queen’s Medal for Music (2007). In 2014 she was appointed Master of The Queen’s Music in succession to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. In January 2015 she became Associate Composer to the BBC Singers.

Much of her music has been recorded, and is available on the NMC, Delphian and Signum labels. In 2014-15 there were releases of The Vanishing Bridegroom  (NMC) and Storm (BBC Singers/Signum).  Judith Weir’s music is published by Chester Music and Novello & Co.  She blogs about her experiences of cultural life in the UK at judithweir.com

Song List

This list is likely to be of songs that have been performed at Oxford International Song Festivals and Oxford Song events, and may not be comprehensive of this composer's compositions. This database is ever growing as a work in progress, with further songs regularly being added.

A Spanish Liederbooklet (1988) Judith Weir
Act I - King Harald Judith Weir
Act II - St Olaf Judith Weir
Act III - The Norwegian Army Judith Weir
Ave Regina Caelorum (2014) Judith Weir
Berceuse (2015) Judith Weir
Breasts! Songs of the Innocent Wild Child (2000) Judith Weir
Crocodile (2015) Judith Weir
Edge (2000) Judith Weir
Epilogue - an Icelandic sage Judith Weir
Fish Bird Judith Weir
King Harald's Saga Judith Weir
Lady Isobel and the Elf-Knight (1982) Judith Weir
Le tam-tam (2015) Judith Weir
Le village (2015) Judith Weir
Leaf from Leaf, Christ Knows Judith Weir
My Guardian Angel (2002) Judith Weir
Nuits d'Afrique (2015) Judith Weir
Romance de Fonte-frida (1988) Judith Weir
Romance de Rosa fresca (1988) Judith Weir
Scotch Minstrelsy (1982) Judith Weir
Serenilla de la Zarzuela (1988) Judith Weir
Song of the girl ravished away by the fairies in South Uist (1987) Judith Weir
Sweet little red feet (2003) Judith Weir
The Voice of Desire (2003) Judith Weir
The voice of desire (2003) Judith Weir
White eggs in the bush (2003) Judith Weir
woman.life.song (2000) Judith Weir
Written on terrestrial things (2003) Judith Weir
Written on Terrestrial Things (2003) Judith Weir

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