From Stratford to leading orchestras across the world

Shirley J Thomspon

Shirley J Thomspon - Credit: Archant

She grew up on the streets of Stratford but has since become the first ever female in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony within the past 40 years.

Shirley J Thompson has lived in the borough for her whole life and sets herself as an example to the many youngsters who dream big.

The composer has spoken to the Recorder about her busy career and forthcoming events.

She said: “I have a very busy summer ahead of me.

“I have just performed at the Tete a Tete in Euston which is the world’s largest festival of new opera.

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“It was an honour to perform at such a great event. It was an excellent night and I received great feedback from guests which I was very pleased with.”

The composer will next be appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where she will be collaborating with the Electric Voice Theatre for Minerva Scientifica: The Franklin Effect.

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“I’m really looking forward to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival its a great event and I’m really excited for the performance,” she said.

Shirley, a former Plashet Secondary School student, grew up singing in local choirs across the borough.

“I actually trained within the Newham Music Academy. I also sang with various choirs,” she said.

“This is when I was first introduced to music and at the time I had no idea how far it would go. I was always very passionate about music.

“I think it is really important for young people to go for what they want to do, no matter how big, if you put your mind to it then nothing can stop you.”

The composer, who gained credit for conducting a symphony for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate one thousand years of London’s history, in 2004, said she has no plans to move out of the borough anytime soon.

She said: “The borough has so much to offer. It has great links and arts organisations, No matter where I go in the world, Stratford is always home.”

Shirley will perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland on August 20 and 21.

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