Sunday, October 16, 2011

'New Nation Rising' of Shirley J. Thompson on WHPK-FM & Online, Wed. Oct. 19, Noon to 3 PM

[TOP: Shirley J. Thompson (Photo Credit: Sergio Mims) BOTTOM: New Nation Rising: A 21st Century Symphony; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; RPO (2004)]

Our friend Sergio Mims hosts a classical music radio program on WHPK-FM in Chicago. He contributes this post on the music of Shirley J. Thompson:

I wanted to let you know that on Weds Oct. 19 on my classical music show on WHPK-FM (88.5 FM Chicago - 12 noon to 3PM U.S. Central time and on-line livestream at I will be broadcasting, what will to be my knowledge, the American broadcast premiere of composer Shirley J. Thompson's extraordinary symphony work, New Nation Rising.

The work is conducted by Ms. Thompson with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (the recording is on RPO - orchestra's own label) and also involved in this recording are:

Mark De-Lisser, Maria Awa and Nicholas Sherwood (singers)
Nolan Weekes (Spoken Word Artist)
Justin Pickett (drummer)
Westminster Voices
Newham Academy Choir
Dhol Academy

It's vibrant, exciting and totally original work by a composer with her own singular vision that should be heard by as wide an audience as possible. In the liner notes for the CD she says that New Nation Rising is very much "a story about London celebrating its legendary spirit of change, innovation, dynamism and cultural diversity"

As for Ms. Thompson herself, she has become one of the leading now composers on the British contemporary music scene and was named last year on Thompson Reuters and J.P. Morgan Power List of Britain's 100 Most Influential Black People. She has written other symphonic works, works for solo instruments and ensemble, vocal works and ballets and also working on a comic opera Doors to Manuel and a viola concerto. To find out more about her go to her website here:

I've also attached some pictures of Ms. Thomson taken when I had the absolutely great pleasure to meet her last week in London.
Sergio Mims

Comment by email:
By the way, when I played Shirley Thompson's New Nation Rising Symphony this afternoon on my radio show on WHPK she was listening to my show livestream on-line on the station's website in London where she lives and she got this e-mail from a listener which she shared with me: "Dear Miss Thompson,

Wonderful music beyond my wildest expectations from a young composer. I could envision the birth of nations out of the jungle of narcissistic governing bodies, the use of brass to enhance the rhythms of the percussions was unique and appropriate for the mood of the nascence of change. You are truly a gift to the world of music.

Sincerely, Tom Spencer, Chicago"


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