Exploring themes of slavery and freedom, Mighty River combines contemporary classical techniques with spirituals which were introduced to Hull in 1871 by the Fisk Jubilee Singers – an African-American a cappella choir of ex-slaves. The piece, written for orchestra, takes its inspiration from William Wilberforce the English politician, philanthropist and leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade who was, very fittingly, a native of Hull. Supported by RVW Trust and The Radcliffe Trust. Commissioned by Rev John and Mrs Carol Wates & produced by Oxford Contemporary Music.
About Errollyn Wallen
Errollyn Wallen is as respected a singer-songwriter of pop-influenced songs as she is a composer of contemporary new music. Born in Belize, she gave up her training at the Dance Theater of Harlem, New York to study composition at universities of London and Cambridge. She founded her own Ensemble X: its motto, 'we don't break down barriers in music... we don't see any', reflects her free-spirited approach and eclectic musicianship. Errollyn Wallen was awarded an MBE for her services to music in the Queen's birthday honours list in June 2007.
The performance of Mighty River will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 1 July 2017.