One of Britain’s great singer songwriters, Joan Armatrading, celebrated her 50th year in music in 2022. Not content with resting on her undoubted successes, she has now pivoted to a new role as classical composer.

Armatrading’s ‘Symphony No. 1’ will be debuted in a world premiere, performed by the Chineke! Orchestra at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre on November 24th later this year.

Joan says, “I have always known that I would write a classical piece at some point in my life. One day, I was in my studio and out of the blue I decided that this was the day. I started with the melodic second movement – it felt to me like writing a song. I then wrote the first movement and, finally, I wrote the other three movements in 2022. All in all, to write the complete symphony took roughly five months. It has no theme as such but aims to be uplifting.

“As usual I stayed in the way of composing that I have done when I write pop songs. I’m just myself. I didn’t write the symphony thinking I wanted it to be like anyone but Joan.”

Chineke Orchestra founder Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE says:

The Chineke! Orchestra are thrilled to be performing the world premiere of Joan Armatrading’s first symphony at the Southbank Centre. Armatrading’s pioneering spirit and ability to break boundaries has been a source of inspiration for generations of music lovers and musicians, and it’s an honour to bring her latest composition to life on www. This symphony is a stunning display of her creativity and skill, and we can’t wait for audiences to experience its unique blend of classical and contemporary influences.”

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