Born in London in 1984, Hannah Kendall is one of Britain’s most promising young contemporary classical composers. Her piano piece Processional will feature in our concert at St George’s Bristol on 23 September.
Her parents are originally from Guyana in South America, where her grandfather was a talented jazz musician who encouraged his children to study music and dance. As a child Hannah learnt to play the violin, but had switched to singing by the time she went to study music at Exeter University. It was only towards the end of her degree course that she turned to composition. She went on to study composition with Kenneth Hesketh at the Royal College of Music. Since then she has written pieces for a wide variety of forces from solo piano to large orchestra, including many vocal pieces ranging from individual songs to large choral works. Her one-man chamber opera ‘The Knife of Dawn’ was premiered in 2016, and was described as ‘dramatically intense and atmospheric’ (The Guardian) and ‘intricate and imaginative’ (The Financial Times).
Hannah’s work has been performed by many leading performers and orchestras, and she has appeared on ‘Composer of the Week’ and ‘Hear and Now’ on BBC Radio 3. Her works have been performed at the BBC Proms in both 2017 and 2018.
Hannah is a lover of contemporary culture, and often works collaboratively across different art forms including theatre, dance, poetry and art. Processional, which features in our concert, was inspired by a painting of the same name by Norman Lewis, which is an abstract representation of the Selma to Montgomery marches organised by African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement in 1965. The piece starts slowly and quietly in the piano’s high register, steadily leading to gentle undulating and repetitive rhythms, building in intensity to a forceful and driving section, and ending on a soft flourish as the procession continues into the distance.
For more about Hannah and her work, see her website.