Julia Perry Week 2024

RNCM’s Julia Perry Week 2024 (26 February–1 March 2024) draws on Michael Harper’s work exploring the music of Julia Perry (1924–1979) through a new series of lectures, presentations and concerts.

‘Julia Perry was an exceptional and talented mid-twentieth-century composer who achieved greatness in a world not moulded in her image. Challenging the boundaries, she developed a body of works expressing her uncompromising individual, lyrical and modernist musical voice. With much of her oeuvre still unpublished and unperformed, her true impact is still yet to be realised.’ — Michael Harper

Photo of Julia Perry

Between 2019 and 2022, Michael received funding from the AHRC to collaborate with the BBC on a project that evaluated Perry’s extant work in archives so as to bring them to new audiences through performance.


For the RNCM’s Julia Perry week, Michael will be joined by an international team of performer-scholars to celebrate Perry’s musical legacy through:


  • A public launch event that will include insights from Michael Harper and Professor Louise Toppin as well as a practically illustrated talk by Dr Samantha Ege on Julia Perry’s music and a performance by soprano Nadine Benjamin MBE, followed by a panel discussion with additional guest RNCM international chair in music education, Dr Nate Holder.


  • A Keynote presentation at the RNCM Sir John Manduell Research Forum, during which Professor Toppin will offer information and insight into the process of securing Julia Perry’s compositional legacy, and more widely, into Professor Toppin’s work on African-diaspora composers through performance, scholarship and publishing.


  • A guest lecture by Louise Toppin during Michael’s regular UG elective on ‘Art Songs of the Black African Diaspora’ which will offer new knowledge of, and insight into, the life and works of this important, but forgotten mid-century composer.


  • New Resources offered by the RNCM library in support of the week’s educational aims, including a blog to inform international audiences.


  • Keyboard and vocal classes for RNCM students on Perry’s work by internationally renowned performers including Dr Samantha Ege and Dr Louise Toppin


  • Collaboration between the RNCM, BBC Philharmonic and Bridgewater Hall to bring this work to concertgoers and widen the reach of this important work



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