Buckingham Palace announces music for the Coronation
Saturday, 18th February 2023
Buckingham Palace has announced details of the music which will be performed at the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May.
Personally selected by HM The King, the music has been chosen to showcase talent from across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. A range of musical styles and performers blend tradition, heritage and ceremony with new musical voices, reflecting The King’s life-long love and support of music and the arts.
Andrew Nethsingha, the Abbey's Organist and Master of the Choristers, will direct the music at the service and oversee all musical arrangements.
Among the music will be twelve new commissions, all composed for the occasion by world-renowned British composers from the worlds of sacred, classical, theatre, film and television music. They include a Coronation Anthem by Andrew Lloyd Webber, a Coronation March by Patrick Doyle, a commission for solo organ by Iain Farrington, and new works by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O'Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley Thompson, Judith Weir, Roderick Williams and Debbie Wiseman.
The Service will be sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, together with girl choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College, Belfast, and from Truro Cathedral Choir.
The Ascension Choir, a handpicked gospel choir, will also perform as part of the service, and The King’s Scholars of Westminster School will proclaim the traditional ‘Vivat’ acclamations.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner will conduct The Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists in a pre-service programme of classical music.
Instrumental and solo performances
Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director for the Royal Opera House, will conduct the Coronation Orchestra, made up of specially selected musicians from the orchestras of The former Prince of Wales' Patronages including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Fanfares will be played by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force.
Soloists will include bass-baritone, Sir Bryn Terfel; soprano, Pretty Yende; and baritone, Roderick Williams.
The organ will be played by the Abbey's Sub-Organist, Peter Holder, and before the service by its Assistant Organist, Matthew Jorysz.
The Official Royal Harpist, Alis Huws, will perform as part of the Coronation Orchestra in recognition of The King’s long standing and deeply held relationship and affiliation with Wales. One of the liturgical sections of the ceremony will be performed in Welsh, while a second item will include sections in three Celtic languages.
At the request of His Majesty, in tribute to his late father His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Greek Orthodox music will also feature in the service performed by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble.
Blending the traditional and the modern
Music by the likes of:
- William Byrd (1543 – 1623)
- George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1759)
- Sir Edward Elgar (1857–-1934)
- Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869–1941)
- Sir William Walton (1902–1983)
- Sir Hubert Parry (1848–-1918)
has often featured in coronations over the past four centuries and will be included in the programme along with the music of one of Britain’s most loved and celebrated living composers, Sir Karl Jenkins.
Looking ahead to the service, Andrew Nethsingha said:
'All coronation services are a mixture of deep-rooted tradition and contemporary innovation. As was the case in the four twentieth-century coronations, the choice of music reflects the cultural breadth of the age in which we live. Coronations have been taken place in Westminster Abbey since 1066. It has been a privilege to collaborate with His Majesty in choosing fine musicians and accessible, communicative music for this great occasion.'
More about coronations
The Abbey is the coronation church - 39 reigning monarchs have been crowned here since 1066. Discover more about the history of coronations at the Abbey and find out about upcoming events.