On this International Women’s Day, we are proud to celebrate the work and achievements of The Purcell School’s exceptionally talented female first study composers.

Alison Cox OBE, Head of Composition, explains that the School is particularly fortunate to have such a strong and high percentage of female composers who are all ‘doing amazing things at present’. With over 50%, the department bucks the national trend and reaps the rewards of doing so.

Sixth former, Asha Parkinson is one such composer, who had her inspiring and original choral composition, What War?, performed at St James, Piccadilly in January 2017. The piece was conceived and played in support of Asha’s charitable project, Voices Beyond Divisions, which strives to raise awareness and funds to support the victims of the atrocities that have been taking place in the Middle East. What War? was performed by The Purcell Chamber Choir and children from Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith primary schools, along with an ensemble of gifted young instrumentalists and Middle Eastern oud and nay players.

Another sixth form student, Lauren Marshall, received sensational accolades earlier this year when she was appointed first principal composer for the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) and commissioned to write an original piece for the NYO Winter Concert tour. Lauren, furthermore, received a commission to write a new work for The Morgan Stanley Garden at the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to be played both live and electronically in the garden, and was part of the BBC Proms Inspire Scheme which saw a dozen other young, female composers collaborate on a piece which will premiere today on In Tune, BBC Radio 3, in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017.

And finally, Year 12 first study composer, Zakia Fawcett beat off fierce competition to win a commission to write a new work for The Purcell School Symphony Orchestra. Her scintillating composition, Seized, will be performed at the Cadogan Hall concert on Monday 20th March 2017. To experience Zakia’s piece first hand, tickets are available here.​​