Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow 221st Lecture Series
Date: Wednesday 15 February 2023
Time: 19:30 - 21:00
Venue: Sir Charles Wilson Building LT 201
Category: Public lectures
Speaker: Sally Beamish
Sally Beamish is a very highly regarded composer and viola player. Her compositions range though orchestral pieces to ballets and operas. Her music embraces many influences - particularly jazz and Scottish traditional music. Her ballet, The Tempest, was premiered in October 2016 at Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler's Wells, London, with the US premiere by Houston Ballet in May 2017. Her second ballet, The Little Mermaid, was premiered in September 2017 by Northern Ballet and toured the UK with 75 performances. It will tour the UK again in Autumn 2022. In February 2012 and July 2015, Beamish was BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week.
From 2018-2020, Beamish was composer-in-residence with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow, a Creative Scotland Award, a Paul Hamlyn Award, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2018, she was awarded the Inspiration Award at the British Composer Awards in recognition of lifetime achievement and in 2020 was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She was recently appointed as an international fellow of the Royal Swedish musical academy.
Entitled ‘Inspiration’, Sally Beamish’s talk will cover the diversity of starting points for composition: birds and other animals, landscape and seascape, weather, story, dance, different genres of music, and the range of emotions and experience that may be communicated through music. Giving an insight into her own journey and roots, Sally will explain how music was her first language, and look back on decisions she made and how some of these arose from unconscious bias she didn’t know she had.
An important theme will be the 30 years she spent in Scotland, and how this shaped and informed her craft as a composer, leading to unexpected and challenging opportunities. Her relationship with performance has led to many unusual collaborations and lasting bonds with other musicians, and she describes the insights arising from her return to viola playing, after a gap of 25 years.