Joan Armatrading to premiere her debut Symphony in London

Joan Armatrading has gone classical with her first non-pop piece for an orchestra.



Joan Armatrading is used to writing pop songs but used the same approach for her first classical piece
Joan Armatrading is used to writing pop songs but used the same approach for her first classical piece

Joan Armatrading has composed her first-ever classical Symphony.

The music legend - who celebrated five decades in music last year - will debut 'Symphony No.1' with a world premiere performance by the Chineke! Orchestra at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre on November 24.

The 72-year-old Ivor Novello-winning songwriter said of her first classical composition for an orchestra: "I have always known that I would write a classical piece at some point in my life. One day, I was in my studio and out of the blue I decided that this was the day. I started with the melodic second movement - it felt to me like writing a song. I then wrote the first movement and, finally, I wrote the other three movements in 2022. All in all, to write the complete symphony took roughly five months. It has no theme as such but aims to be uplifting.

"As usual I stayed in the way of composing that I have done when I write pop songs. I'm just myself. I didn't write the symphony thinking I wanted it to be like anyone but Joan."

Chineke Orchestra founder Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE commented: "The Chineke! Orchestra are thrilled to be performing the world premiere of Joan Armatrading's first symphony at the Southbank Centre. Armatrading's pioneering spirit and ability to break boundaries has been a source of inspiration for generations of music lovers and musicians, and it's an honour to bring her latest composition to life on stage. This symphony is a stunning display of her creativity and skill, and we can't wait for audiences to experience its unique blend of classical and contemporary influences."

The 'Drop the Pilot' hitmaker has partnered with Boosey and Hawkes for the rights to publish 'Symphony No.1' and future performances from Boosey and Hawkes.

Janis Susskind OBE, Managing Director of Boosey and Hawkes, added: "What a wonderful surprise when Joan Armatrading arrived in our offices clutching a score and Midi recording of her new symphony. Having been a longstanding fan of this living legend, I was delighted to learn that Joan's musical orbit now encompasses full symphony orchestra. We look forward to spreading the word far and wide and to many more performances following the Chineke! premiere."

For tickets head to