Launched in 2016, five15 is a project created by the choir to support and champion women composers through commissioning new works, increased concert programming, workshops, recordings and more, aiming to create a paradigm shift in people’s perceptions of a typical composer. Hannah Kendall is being commissioned to write the final three commissions of the initiative, the last of which will performed at a festival concert in 2022 which will celebrate the other four resident composers: Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Rebecca Dale, Jessica Curry and current composer in residence Anna Disley-Simpson.
The world premiere of Hannah’s Tuxedo: Vasco ‘de’ Gama featured on the opening night of this year’s BBC Proms and she has appeared there twice before in 2017 and 2018 with ‘The Spark Catchers’, an orchestral piece for Chineke! and ‘Verdala’ for London Sinfonietta, conducted by George Benjamin. Hannah’s music, described as ‘…intricately and skillfully wrought’ by The Sunday Times, has been performed across the UK by a wide array of ensembles from London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers, Chineke! and Philharmonia Orchestra. Her works have also been broadcast on BBC Radio, including ‘Composer of the Week’ in March 2015, and ‘Hear and Now’ in October 2016. In her current season, Hannah is working with BBC Symphony Orchestra; Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; London Sinfonietta; Riot Ensemble; Paraorchestra and European Union Youth Orchestra.
Dominic Ellis-Peckham, musical director of London Oriana Choir, said: “We are thrilled that Hannah has agreed to join us as final composer-in-residence for five15. I have been inspired and enlightened by her various compositions and passionate collaborations for many years and am so excited to be working with her as we conclude this incredibly significant initiative.
“I know Hannah shares our dedication to equality, opportunities and education for composers and I am so grateful to be working towards something so positive and energising as we emerge from such a challenging time in our industry.”
Commenting on her appointment, Hannah said: “I’m in such admiration of London Oriana Choir. It’s a privilege to be working with this fantastic ensemble for the culmination of its important five15 project. It’s been a while since I’ve written for a vocal group, so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in. I have some exciting ideas, and I can’t wait to develop them further with everyone.”
Hannah Kendall will officially take up her residency with the choir from July 2021 till July 2022, with her three commissions featuring across the concert season. The culmination of the five15 project will be the curation of a festival celebrating the key commissions from all five resident composers, workshops and masterclass sessions to inspire a new generation, the launching of an anthology of the 15 commissioned works and a specially recorded album. As a supporter of the PRS Foundation Keychange programme, London Oriana Choir has already achieved 50:50 gender balance programming and will be looking to see what might follow on from its five15 initiative.