Acclaimed violinist Esther Abrami today announced her new EP ‘Spotlight’, via Sony Classical. The four-track collection will be released on October 21st, and sees HER Ensemble, the UK’s first women and non-binary string orchestra, accompany Esther on the release. The first 2 singles from ‘Spotlight’ are available here.
The announcement is accompanied by a new single and video, ‘Semplice Sempre’, a world premiere recording and brand new composition by Shirley Thompson OBE, the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony within the last 40 years. Listen here / watch here.
Shirley Thompson has been named in the Evening Standard’s ‘Power List of Britain’s Top 100 Most Influential Black People’ seven times, and commissioned for several royal engagements, including Commonwealth Day performing for HM Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey in 1999, HM Queen Elizabeth’s summer party at Buckingham Palace in 2001, and was commissioned to compose a large-scale work to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.
About their collaboration, Shirley Thompson says: “I am thrilled to be working with the effervescent and brilliant violinist, Esther Abrami, after first meeting her for the ‘Women in Classical‘ documentary series that she created and presents. I composed ‘Semplice Sempre’ for Esther knowing that she would bring her beautiful and inimitable sheen to the melodic theme of the work and to showcase her luscious string tone. The work requires significant virtuosity in its employment of the full range of the instrument and contrasting string textures that demands a significant level of technical aptitude as well as musicality.”
Esther Abrami says “It was incredible to have Shirley with us in the studio, being able to collaborate with us. No one has ever listened to Semplice Sempre before, so I’m really excited to hear people’s thoughts! I’m really honoured, first that Shirley has composed this piece for me, but also handed me such a personal work. In her own words, this is a composition she has written as an homage to her mother who passed away, and which symbolises the pure and simple love of a mother”.
Earlier this month, Esther released ‘Reverie’, written by British composer, conductor and first openly transgender Oscar nominee Angela Morley. A three-time Emmy Award winner, Angela Morley notably worked on numerous music scores including Star Wars, Home Alone and Schindler’s List. Speaking about the single, composed in 2005 at the request of the BBC, Esther Abrami says “When I heard it the first time, I could not believe that this piece is not referred to as a ‘classic’. The melody stays in my head, it sounds British as it’s very romantic, but also very Hollywood, as it could be a movie score. There is also a very strong story behind the life of the composer, and I wanted to highlight it”.
The UK-based French violinist had a hugely successful 2021 which saw her open for one of the world’s most successful classical singers Katherine Jenkins OBE, release her debut album ‘Esther Abrami’, and launch her YouTube and podcast series ‘Women In Classical’ where she speaks to some of the most-respected women in the music industry. In addition, she finished her tour with Two Steps From Hell across Europe last month.
Her new EP ‘Spotlight’ with HER Ensemble, who strive to make a positive impact on the gender gap in the industry whilst creating space for musicians of marginalised genders, features tracks by Morley, Thompson, Farrenc and Mendelssohn. “Thanks to my series ‘Women in Classical’ and the release of my debut album, I’ve grown in confidence and gained strength to voice my ideas even more. I wanted this EP to be inspiring and daring”.