Judith Weir (b. 1954) is a British composer who is actively commissioned and performed. In 2007 she became the third recipient of the Queen’s Medal for Music. Born in Cambridge to Scottish parents, she often draws inspiration from medieval history, and is known primarily as an operatic/theatrical composer, though her orchestral works are also highly respected. Weir is also this year’s composer in residence at the New England Conservatory, which featured many of her works in their annual contemporary music festival.
Be sure to read Tom Service’s Guide to Judith Weir’s Music, which highlights his favorite samples of her distinctive style. And also read Weir’s interview with Ivan Hewett where she discusses her training and influences—as well as endures the all-too prevalent questions that women musicians have to field about the difference between “feminine” and “masculine” music.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day here is a movement from Weir’s Bagpipers String Trio:
And here is a piece premiered at the 2011 BBC Proms, “Stars, Night, Music and Light” (with a bit of banter before from the original broadcast):