Lucy Pankhurst is a composer based in the northwest of England. She is a performance (tenor horn, 2004) and composition (2007) graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music. In 2020 she was also awarded a PhD from the RNCM/MMU for her work focussing on contemporary applications of the traditional brass band (supervisors Professor Adam Gorb and Dr Larry Goves).
As a composer, Lucy has received many accolades for her work, most notably in 2011 when she became the first female composer to be presented with a British Composer Award in the Brass/Wind Band category. In Pitch Black was also the first brass band work to win a BCA. Her work has subsequently been shortlisted for the awards on four more occasions. Lucy has also been a member of the judging panel for the British Composer Awards/Novellos and adjudicated the 2019 EBBC Composers Competition alongside Dr John Pickard and Oliver Waespi.
Large-scale composition projects include commissions for the Durham International Brass Festival (Pathways - 2015), a multiple ensemble ACE-funded mixed media project at the Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland and the Sage, Gateshead (Reflection Connection – 2016), a residency at the IWBC in Philadelphia (2017), a PRSF-funded work for brass band and electronics (Th’owfen Raconteurs – 2013) and a vocal/electroacoustic installation at Salisbury Cathedral to commemorate the Christmas Truce of 1914 at the Ageas International Salisbury Arts Festival (Voices from No Man’s Land – 2014). A studio-recorded version of Voices From No Man’s Land was also presented as a featured sound installation at the Women In Sound/Women On Sound (WISWOS) 2015 conference. Most recently, Lucy's project with the Foden's Band to help raise the profile of brass band instruments was launched. 'Welcome to the Bandroom!' is a guide to the instruments and sounds of the brass band. Please see the PROJECTS tab for more info.
In 2018, Lucy was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to create a vocal work celebrating 100 years of suffrage, with text developed with Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, Dr Helen Pankhurst. The Pankhurst Anthem was recorded by the BBC Singers and premiered at the 2018 BBC Free Thinking Festival at the Sage, Gateshead.
Lucy has a particular interest in projects that involve research and collaboration. She has composed a number of site/performer-specific works and also has a growing collection of pieces that respond to specific artistic stimuli. Most recently, Lucy was commissioned to write the music for an immersive AR App project. 'The Storm Cone' by Laura Daly is an interactive artwork that re-imagines and brings to life lost bandstands in Britain. Other site-specific works include; Sekhemti (solo trumpet - Head and Arm from monumental red granite statue of Amenhotep III) and Cristallum Calvariam (violin/voice - Rock Crystal Skull) were performed at the British Museum next to their respective artefacts as part of the 2013 RNCM Sound Histories event. Luminaries for euphonium and piano (commissioned by Dr Amy Schumaker Bliss in 2017) is a set of musical reflections on four revolutionary historical female figures, featuring on Amy's 2019 CD Couleurs en Mouvements (Moving Colors). Examples for large ensemble are Marilyn (brass band) - a musical reflection on Andy Warhol’s screenprints of Marilyn Monroe (commissioned for the 2014 Brass in Concert Festival at the Sage), Where She Sings Freely (brass band and narrator) - illustrating a poem by Clara Price (commissioned by the RWCMD in 2018) and Ticket: 250654 (wind orchestra, commissioned by BASBWE in 2013), based on the ticket number assigned to the musicians aboard the Titanic.
As a music educator and animateur, Lucy has composed many pieces for youth ensembles - from string orchestras, to massed ‘flexible’ ensembles. Over the last 10 years, Lucy has also developed and delivered a whole-class programme of music for KS2 beginner brass, which has led to her current work in producing Puzzle Pieces - an extensive flexible music programme for all instruments (from first access to advanced players), as part of an Erasmus+ international project. In addition to her work in schools, she has also lectured at Huddersfield University and been a guest speaker at the University of Salford, the University of Leicester and Bath Spa University.
Lucy Pankhurst © 2022
Photo by Steve Hocking (2011)