His Majesty The King has commissioned 12 new works to be performed at Westminster Abbey, including two pieces by Academy alumni. Pianist, organist and composer Iain Farrington has composed a solo organ piece titled Voices of the World, which features traditional song melodies from various Commonwealth countries. Farrington commented ‘the music is all mixed together in a joyful, jazzy and dance-like character – it will get people's toes tapping!’
Alum and Fellow of the Academy, Roxanna Panufnik, was also asked by the Palace to write a new work to mark the occasion, which will be titled Coronation Sanctus.
‘I will never forget the day when the call came in. Excitement and exhilaration can’t begin to cover the feeling of being personally commissioned by the King to compose a choir and organ piece for the coronation. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I can’t wait to hear it in context with the massive forces involved in the performance.’Roxanna Panufnik
Additionally, a new arrangement of Sir Karl Jenkins's Tros y Garreg (Crossing the Stone) will feature in the Coronation Ceremony. Jenkins’s emotional setting of a Welsh folk song was originally commissioned by King Charles (then The Prince of Wales) over two decades ago.
During the Ceremony, Academy alumni and students will also be seen performing as part of the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Monteverdi Choir, and Peter Holder will play the great Abbey organ. Furthermore, professors and alumni from the Academy’s woodwind and brass departments will perform as part of the instrumental ensembles at the event.
Finally, we are also looking forward to the Coronation Concert on Sunday 7 May, where Academy Trustee and Governing Body Member Alexis Ffrench will take to the stage alongside a 70-piece orchestra.
In 1953 the Academy was well-represented at Her Late Majesty The Queen’s Coronation, with an orchestra led by Paul Beard which included many other Academy graduates. The choir at the Ceremony featured Eric Greene, Alfred Hepworth, Andrew Gold, Norman Allin, Trevor Anthony, Henry Cummings, Lionel Dakers, Roy Henderson, Scott Joynt and Clement Hardman; and Douglas Hopkins and Hugh Marchant were choir stewards. After the service, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II processed out of Westminster Abbey to Arnold Bax's Coronation March, which was commissioned for the occasion.
Image 1: Roxanna Panufnik
Image 2: Karl Jenkins and his bust by sculptor Frances Segelman at the Academy
Image 3: Alexis Ffrench giving a 'pre-audition' masterclass at the Academy