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A composed celebration

9 March 2020

Acclaimed British composer and conductor, Dame Shirley Joy Thompson OBE, will be guest of honour at Westminster City School’s Celebration of Achievement Evening.

Born in London to parents of Jamaican descent, Dame Thompson’s work encompasses symphonies, ballets, operas, concertos, and other pieces for ensembles, plus music for TV, film, and theatre. She studied Musicology at the University of Liverpool, then specialised in Composition at Goldsmiths' College. Her music is now performed worldwide and renowned for pushing the boundaries of classical music composition, as well as taking it to mass audiences. She was awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year Honours for her services to music.

Dame Thompson will speak and give awards at our Celebration of Achievement Evening on Friday 3 July. Taking place at College Gardens, Westminster Abbey, this event brings our diverse School community together and is one of the highlights of our School calendar, with numerous prizes given for progress and achievement by our pupils.

Mr Peter Broughton, Headteacher, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Dame Thompson will speak at our Celebration of Achievement Evening. Our young people will gain so much from hearing about her incredible career.

“Having a guest of honour as accomplished and as talented as Dame Thompson will be the perfect end to an academic year that has, so far, included our amazing Inspiring Musical Futures concert at St Peter’s, Eaton Square, seen six of our pupils on stage at the London Coliseum as part of the ENO’s Carmen, and had our numerous musical ensembles and busy School Choir performing in locations ranging from New Scotland Yard to Westminster Abbey.”

Dame Thompson said: “I am delighted and honoured to be guest speaker for Westminster City School’s Celebration of Achievement Evening. The School has a splendid record of striving for excellence and learning for life. These are values with which I most strongly accord and have evidenced in my visits to the School.”

Dame Thompson, who is also a Reader at the University of Westminster, has served for 20 years for several national arts institutions, including the London Arts Board and the Arts Council of Great Britain. She is currently a patron of the Black British Academics, a global network of scholars committed to enhancing racial equity in higher education and the wider society.

In advance of our Celebration of Achievement Evening in July, Dame Thompson has been visiting our School to meet and work with pupils, students and staff from our thriving and successful Music Department.

Photo credit: Dame Shirley Thompson OBE

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