Roxanna Panufnik studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music and, since then, has written a wide range of pieces - opera, ballet, music theatre, choral works, orchestral and chamber compositions, and music for film and television - which are performed all over the world.
Panufnik has a great love of world music - this has culminated in her Four World Seasons for violinist Tasmin Little, the world premiere of which was picked by BBC Radio 3 to launch their Music Nations weekend, celebrating the London Olympics; her multi-faith Warner Classics CD Love Abide and Dance of Life: Tallinn Mass for Tallinn Philharmonic, commissioned to celebrate Tallinn’s reign as European Capital of Culture.
She is especially interested in building musical bridges between faiths and her first project in this field was the violin concerto Abraham, commissioned for Daniel Hope, incorporating Christian, Islamic and Jewish chant to create a musical analogy for the fact that these three faiths believe in the same one God. This work was subsequently converted into an overture for the World Orchestra for Peace and premiered in Jerusalem and London under the baton of Valery Gergiev, in 2008 and at the 2014 BBC Proms. In 2017 her opera Silver Birch, commissioned by Garsington Opera, was met with great audience and critical acclaim.
2018, Panufnik’s 50th Birthday year, saw some exciting commissions and premieres for the BBC Last Night of the Proms and a co-commissioned oratorio Faithful Journey - a Mass for Poland for City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Poland, marking Poland’s centenary as an independent state. In 2019, a new commission for two conductors and two choirs was premiered by Marin Alsop and Valentina Peleggi with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Recent and upcoming premieres include Songs of Love and Friendship for the Netherlands Radio Choir with violinist Daniel Rowland at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Ever Us for the Rundfunk Chor Berlin plus 9 other choirs from all over the world which will premiere at the Berlin Philharmonie in 2024/5.
She has recently been awarded, by the Polish Deputy Prime Minister, the Bronze Medal for Merit to Culture ‘Gloria Artis’ for her contribution to popularising Polish culture through her music.
Roxanna’s compositions are published by Peter’s Edition Ltd and recorded on many labels including Warner Classics, Signum, Chandos, and EMI Classics.
Photo by Benjamin Ealovega