Errollyn Wallen is both a pop music singer-songwriter and a composer of new music.
Wallen actually started out studying dance in New York, but soon decided she wanted to be the one making the music that moved people. She soon dropped out and moved to the U.K., where she studied composition in first London and then Cambridge.
Ever since, she’s been breaking down barriers between popular and classical music. Whatever kind of music you can imagine (operas, chamber works, jazz, pop) Wallen has probably performed or recorded it! As a singer herself, she’s also written lots of well-regarded pieces for the human voice, and her pop work sits alongside jazz and pop stars like Bjork and Elvis Costello.
These days, she writes commissions for everyone from the Royal Opera House to the BBC, and tours all over the world. She was even awarded an MBE in 2007 by the Queen of England herself!
As you might have gathered, Errollyn Wallen is quite a tricky one to pin down in terms of style! She performs a good mix of everything, and often tries to blur the boundaries between the classical and pop worlds.
Wallen’s open-minded approach is best summed up in this quote concerning her new music group, Ensemble X:
“We don’t break down barriers in music… We don’t see any.”
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- Black History Month #9
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