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Born into a Scottish family in 1954, Judith Weir began her musical career as an oboe player, performing with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and studied composition with John Tavener during her schooldays. She went on to Cambridge University, where her composition teacher was Robin Holloway, and in 1975 attended summer school at Tanglewood, where she worked with Gunther Schuller. After this she spent several years working in schools and adult education in rural southern England, followed by a period based in Scotland, teaching at Glasgow University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

As resident composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s, she wrote several works for orchestra and chorus (including Forest, Storm and We are Shadows) which were premiered by the orchestra’s then Music Director, Sir Simon Rattle. She has been commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Music Untangled and Natural History) the Minnesota Orchestra (The Welcome Arrival of Rain) and the London Sinfonietta (Tiger under the Table).

Judith Weir meets HM Queen Elizabeth II

Credit: Getty

​In recent years, Judith Weir has considerably expanded her choral catalogue, with regular performance by choirs worldwide of music such as her Christmas carol Illuminare, Jerusalem written for Stephen Cleobury and the choir of King’s College Cambridge. As associate composer with the BBC Singers (2015-19) she completed two oratorios; In the Land of Uz, about the prophet Job; and blue hills beyond blue hills, to Zen-influenced verse by the Scottish poet Alan Spence.

In July 2014 Judith Weir was appointed to the 395-year old royal post of Master of the Queen’s Music, in succession to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Judith Weir at Worcester 2024

As a celebration of Judith's 70th birthday, a number of Judith Weir's pieces will be performed throughout the festival week.

Firstly, her Still, Glowing will be performed on Sunday 28 July.

Listen to this piece below.

On Monday 29th July, Weir's O Sweet Spontaneous Earthwill be performed and on Tuesday 30th July, her In the Land of Uz will be performed.

You can listen to this piece below.

For a further exploration into Weir's music, check out the Spotify playlist below.