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Judith Weir

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Judith Weir CBE, (born 11 May 1954 in Cambridge, England of Scottish parents), is a British composer currently resident in London. She is Professor of Music at Cardiff University. Judith Weir’s music has achieved considerable popularity with audiences and critics alike. She trained with John Tavener while still at school and subsequently with Robin Holloway at King’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1976. Her music is characterised by a distinctive textural clarity and a lucid but idiosyncratic harmonic idiom. Often drawing on sources from medieval history, as well as the traditional stories and music of her native Scotland, she is best known for her operas and theatre works, although she has also achieved considerable international renown for her extensive catalogue of orchestral and chamber works. Weir’s musical language is fairly conservative in its mechanics, but her ear for sonority and effect, and ability to make simple ideas sound fresh, makes her work free of modern-music clichés, while at the same time being interesting, approachable and communicative. Her operatic musical writing is sometimes compared to Britten’s. Her first stage work, The Black Spider, was a one act opera which premiered in Canterbury in 1985. She has subsequently written one more “micro-operas”, three full length operas, and an opera for television. In 1987, her first full length opera, A Night at the Chinese Opera, premiered to great critical success at Kent Opera.

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