Her times: Composers of our own time are freer than they have ever been before; free to pursue whatever stylistic paths they like and by whichever means – and largely without fear of discrimination due to race, gender or age. But that comes with its own complications, notably the increased need to write music that serves a purpose and punches through (live or through speakers and headphones) in an age full of noise where much creativity is built on commercial imperatives.
Her music: In the spirit of that, Judith Bingham’s music treads its own path and is rightfully indefinable in terms of the ‘isms’ of the past. Bingham is certainly influenced by British music of previous times including that of Walton and Vaughan Williams, but her writing is more connected to two elements of her life: firstly her activities as a singer, which often lend it a song-like quality and a tendency to use expressive melodies, and secondly her delight in imagery and drama, which are consistent assets in music which is often inspired by outside influences – from the Hubble telescope to the running of the four-minute mile.
Herself: Bingham was born in Nottingham and educated at a grammar school in Sheffield and then at the Royal Academy of Music. Open and revealing about her life and creative processes, she has described how she ‘bluffed’ her way into the BBC Singers, a career move that was vital in kick-starting a compositional career which has moved from a basis in choral music to instrumental and orchestral works and music theatre.
Judith’s piece, The Hythe, was given its world premiere with us on 4 July 2012 at St.Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, as part of the City of London Festival given in partnership with JAM (John Armitage Memorial).