Turner Sims Southampton and its project partner Southampton City Council are delighted to announce that composer and musician Tunde Jegede has been chosen to create the music for a special project as part of Southampton’s Mayflower 400 anniversary.

Tunde Jegede is a world-renowned composer, producer, cellist and kora virtuoso whose work has changed the face of classical and contemporary music in Europe and Africa. The Southampton project, which is supported by funding from Arts Council England, Southampton City Council and the University of Southampton, will see Tunde Jegede create a set of choral pieces based on pre-existing and new oral histories of Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) and migrant communities.

Southampton’s Mayflower 400 programme is focusing on the themes of journeys, migration and sanctuary. The commission will be inspired by the stories of Southampton’s migrant communities, collected through the City Archive and a new National Lottery Heritage Fund supported oral history project.  The final pieces will be premiered at a performance at Turner Sims scheduled for November 2020.  After the project is completed, the pieces will be rearranged by Tunde, to enable them to be made available online for free use by local choirs, as well as for schools’ use.

To launch the partnership, Turner Sims will be providing an opportunity for BAME and migrant community musicians in Southampton to workshop with Tunde Jegede ahead of activity planned later in the year with musicians and local singers.  Details of the workshop, and how musicians can get involved will be announced in July. 

Speaking of his appointment Tunde Jegede said “I am honoured to have been selected as the composer for the Mayflower 400 music commission at Turner Sims. I am also very excited about working with the singers and musicians of Southampton to create this new piece and sharing my music with the city.”

Kevin Appleby, Concert Hall Manager at Turner Sims Southampton said: “I’m delighted that we are able to bring Tunde to Southampton to work on this important and significant commission.  He is a hugely respected performer and composer whose personal journey has given him a wide range of insights and experience from which to draw on.”

Caterina Loriggio, Mayflower 400 Southampton Anniversary Director said “Funding from Arts Council England, Southampton City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund has enabled a unique programme of Mayflower 400 events in Southampton which will creatively uncover the City’s hidden histories. Securing an artist of Tunde’s calibre is a great boost to the programme. I am excited to see the results of this exciting collaboration between him, local musicians and community performers”.