Roxanna Panufnik

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Roxanna Panufnik
Born (1968-04-24) 24 April 1968 (age 55)
London, England

Roxanna Panufnik (born 24 April 1968)[1] is a British composer of Polish descent. She is the daughter of the Polish composer and conductor Sir Andrzej Panufnik[2] and his second wife Camilla, née Jessel.

Panufnik was born in London. She attended Bedales School and then studied at the Royal Academy of Music. She has written a wide range of pieces including opera, ballet, music theatre, choral works, chamber compositions and music for film and television, which are regularly performed all over the world.[3][4]

Among her most widely performed works are Westminster Mass, commissioned for Westminster Cathedral Choir on the occasion of Cardinal Hume's 75th birthday in May 1998, The Music Programme, an opera for Polish National Opera's millennium season which received its UK premiere at the BOC Covent Garden Festival, and settings for solo voices and orchestra of Vikram Seth's Beastly Tales – the first of which was commissioned by the BBC for Patricia Rozario and City of London Sinfonia.[3] All three Tales are available on disc.

Panufnik has a particular interest in world music; a recent culmination of this was Abraham, a violin concerto commissioned by Savannah Music Festival for Daniel Hope, incorporating Christian, Islamic and Jewish music. This was then converted into an overture, commissioned by the World Orchestra for Peace and premiered in Jerusalem under the baton of Valery Gergiev.

Recently premiered was her oratorio Dance of Life (in Latin and Estonian), incorporating her fourth mass setting, for multiple Tallinn choirs and the Tallinn Philharmonic Orchestra (commissioned to mark their tenure of European Capital of Culture 2011). Her Four World Seasons for violinist Tasmin Little was premiered with the London Mozart Players and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 on 2 March 2012, as part of BBC Radio 3's Music Nation, celebrating the 2012 Olympics.

The Bristol-based Exultate Singers, under their founder-conductor David Ogden, gave the premiere of Panufnik's Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music in 2012. Of the Magnificat, Panufnik said:

"I consulted my good friend, the Rev. Canon Michael Hampel, and he suggested the idea of interpolating the Ave Maria with the Magnificat – as those words of the Archangel Gabriel telling Mary that she was carrying God's son must have been utmost in her mind for the Magnificat, which is her response to that awesome news – the words she says when she visits her cousin Elizabeth. Piecing the two texts together, they have very close associations – it seemed a very natural thing to do. The piece is dedicated to the two commissioning choirs, Exultate Singers and St Mark's Episcopal Church Choir in Philadelphia, with thanks for our very happy continuing collaborations."

Garsington Opera commissioned Panufnik's people's opera Silver Birch and gave the world premiere on 28 July 2017. With a libretto by writer Jessica Duchen this celebration of music, drama, poetry and dance brought together 180 performers on the stage and in the pit, from local schools and the community, working alongside professional soloists, Pinewood Group and the Garsington Opera Orchestra. Karen Gillingham, Creative Director of Garsington Opera's Learning & Participation Programme directed and Douglas Boyd, Garsington Opera's Artistic Director, conducted. Inspired by the timeless themes of war and relationships affected by it, the opera draws upon Siegfried Sassoon's poems and the testimony of a British soldier, who served recently in Iraq, to illustrate the human tragedies of conflicts past and present.

Panufnik was the inaugural Associate Composer with the London Mozart Players, 2012–2015. She is also a Vice-President of the Joyful Company of Singers.[5]

In 2023, Panufnik was one of twelve composers asked to write a new piece for the coronation of Charles III and Camilla.[6] Her setting of the Sanctus, Coronation Sanctus, was performed during the Eucharist.[7]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ 'PANUFNIK, Roxanna', Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011 ; online edn, Nov 2011, accessed 9 April 2012
  2. ^ Shave, Nick (October 2009). "The Shape of Sounds to Come". BBC Music Magazine. 18 (1). Andrew Davies: 26–32.
  3. ^ a b "Roxanna Panufnik – Classical Composer". Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  4. ^ Fairweather, James (February 2013). "Roxanna Panufnik". Bedales School.
  5. ^ "Joyful Company of Singers - About us". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  6. ^ Royal Family, "New music commissions for the coronation service at Westminster Abbey", 17 April 2023. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  7. ^ "The Authorised Liturgy for the Coronation Rite of His Majesty King Charles III" (PDF). Church of England. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 April 2023. Retrieved 29 April 2023.

External links[edit]