'Sally Beamish makes connections between disparate voices, working regularly with the most eminent musicians in jazz and folk music.'
The Quaker composer and patron of The Leaveners Sally Beamish has been awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to music.
The Brighton Friend, who has been commissioned to produce a piece for Quaker Concern for the Abolition of Torture with librettist Peter Thomson, said: ‘In these bleak times for music and the arts, I am delighted to receive this honour. It means a great deal to me that creativity, and the role of the creator in society, have been recognised as important to all of us, and vital to the wellbeing of a healthy society.’
The Scottish Music Centre said that, as a composer from the age of four, and a professional viola player, Sally Beamish’s contribution to international musical life has been ‘extraordinary’. It said: ‘Working routinely with the world’s greatest musicians, her large body of work encompasses both the epic and the intimate – from great orchestral landscapes, or evening-length music drama, to poetic miniatures for solo instruments. Her music is celebrated for its direct expressiveness, lyrical beauty and emotional power. Beamish makes connections between disparate voices, working regularly with the most eminent musicians in jazz and folk music, and creating sincere and moving work for young and amateur musicians.’
The Brighton Quaker featured in the Friend in July for her music during the lockdown, playing on the doorstep throughout the ‘Clap for our Carers’ appeals. The money raised went via a Just Giving donations page towards the Help Musicians UK’s Coronavirus Fund to assist musicians struggling due to the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Her work for three pianists and two pianos will be premiered in autumn 2021 at the New Ross and London Piano Festivals. With pianist Nancy Cooley, she will premiere her own ‘Night Songs’ for viola and piano in Brighton in January.
Other Quakers to receive an OBE include academic Paul Ekins in 2015 who was awarded one for his services to environmental policy.
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