Shirley J. Thompson OBE is Professor of Music and a multi-award-winning composer, artistic director, music conductor, violinist, and cultural activist. In the New Year Honours 2019 list she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to music. Among her groundbreaking compositional work, New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony is an epic musical story celebrating London’s thousand-year history. The symphony was performed and recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied by two choirs, solo singers, a rapper and dhol drummers – a total of nearly 200 performers. the premiere of her choral anthem, ‘A Psalm to Windrush: for the Brave and Ingenious’, took place at Westminster Abbey in 2018 to commemorate the anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush generation to Britain. Shirley has also composed extensively for TV/film, theatre, dance and opera production, always driven by the belief in the transformative power of music to affect social, cultural and political change. She is regularly named on the Powerlist of the top 100 most influential people of African, African Caribbean, and African American heritage who live in the UK, and has previously been named “one of the most inspirational Black British women” by the Metro newspaper.
For further information on Shirley’s work see: