British composer and educator June Boyce-Tillman just premiered a new work in honor of Julian of Norwich(appropriately) at the Norwich Cathedral. Though the premiere managed did not appear even as a blip on the radar of music journalists, the work or performance did not get past the music blog, On an Overgrown Path.
Boyce-Tillman has long been recognized and respected not only for her oeuvre as a composer, but also in her intense scholarship and multiple publications about women, faith, and music. Her work has focused predominately on Hildegard of Bingen, including the formation of the Hildegard Network. Boyce-Tillman also teaches at the University of Winchester.
The piece premiered, titled Enfolded in Love, is a musical pageant commissioned by the Friends of Julian of Norwich, to celebrate the Saint’s life and works and used Norwich’s texts. Performers included a chamber orchestra, large choir of young adults (ages 8 and older), a soloist, and three folk singers who acted as a narrator – all of the performers were female.
The piece at On an Overgrown Path does a wonderful job not only giving credit where do to Boyce-Tillman with her professional and creative endeavors, but also in recognizing the lack of attention that this premiere received:
last night’s performance was not a regional or local event. June Boyce-Tillman lives in London, she is professor of applied music at the University of Winchester and her books have been translated into Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese and Polish. Yet, despite this, I looked in vain at last night’s performance for any of the mainstream music journalists who repeatedly pronounce on the future of music education from nearby London. It seems a woman composer/conductor traveling from Winchester to Norwich with a little help from a medieval mystic is not as newsworthy as a male conductor travelling from Venzuela to London with a lot of help from the commercial/intermediary complex.
Do see the full piece for more insights, observations, and links.