University Women's Choir to commission music by Paul Mealor for 2018

Image courtesy of Chris O’Donovan

After a hugely successful 2017 for all choirs at the University of Birmingham, University Women’s Choir are pleased to announce a new choral commission from composer, Paul Mealor, for performance in their 2018/19 season.

Mealor is Professor of Composition at the University of Aberdeen, and has been described as ‘the most important composer to have emerged in Welsh choral music since William Mathias’ (New York Times, 2001). His music has been commissioned and performed by choirs across the world, and his bestselling disc, ‘A Tender Light’ (featuring Tenebrae) held the top of the Classical Charts for six weeks in 2011. Paul is perhaps best known for his motet Ubi caritas, which was commissioned for the Royal Wedding Ceremony of His Royal Highness Prince William and Catherine Middleton (now TRH The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge). Mealor also held the UK Christmas No 1 in December 2011 with his piece, ‘Wherever You Are’. 

Following the announcement Professor Halsey said: ‘I am delighted to commission Paul Mealor to write for our women’s choir. Paul’s music has been greatly performed and received across the world, and the opportunity for the choir to perform his music is a testament to the quality of the choral programme here in Birmingham.’

Patrick Barrett further commented: ‘I am looking forward to working with the choir on Paul’s new work in our 2018/19 season. Paul is known for his unique ability to write for choral forces, and I’m delighted that the choir will have the opportunity to tackle this fresh challenge.’

The University Women’s Choir was founded by Professor Simon Halsey CBE in 2013 to accommodate and nurture the wealth of strong women’s voices at the University. Through their first year they quickly made a name for themselves, placing 1st position in the Female Choirs Competition and securing a place in the Choir of the World final at the International Music Eisteddfod.

Conducted by Patrick Barrett, the University Women’s Choir have performed in the Elgar Concert Hall, Symphony Hall, Worcester Cathedral, and the Royal Albert Hall. In 2015 they worked with Juice Vocal Ensemble on a programme of contemporary women’s repertoire, including compositions by UoB Composition Fellow Dr Daria Kwiatowksa.

In 2017/18 the choir celebrate historic and contemporary women composers, including music by Elizabeth Poston, Cecilia McDowall, and Janet Wheeler.

Choirs are an important part of University Music in Birmingham, and offer unrivalled opportunities for young singers at any university in the UK. For more information, or if you would like to find out more about choirs at University of Birmingham, please contact Gavin Allsop (g.m.allsop@bham.ac.uk).