Roxanna Panufnik

Roxanna is one of the most versatile and beloved British composers working today. She studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music and her works for opera, ballet, choirs, orchestras and chamber music and music for film and television are performed all over the world.

Roxanna has a great love of world music – this has culminated in her Four World Seasons for violinist Tasmin Little, the world premiere of which was picked by BBC Radio 3 to launch their Music Nations weekend, celebrating the London Olympics; her multi-faith Warner Classics CD Love Abide and Dance of Life: Tallinn Mass for Tallinn Philharmonic, commissioned to celebrate Tallinn’s reign as European Capital of Culture.

She is especially interested in building musical bridges between faiths and her first project in this field was the violin concerto Abraham, commissioned for Daniel Hope, incorporating Christian, Islamic and Jewish chant to create a musical analogy for the fact that these three faiths believe in the same one God. This work was subsequently converted into overture Three Paths to Peace commissioned by the World Orchestra for Peace and premiered in Jerusalem and London under the baton of Valery Gergiev, in 2008 and at the 2014 BBC Proms. The BBC Last Night of the Proms in 2018 commissioned and premiered Songs of Darkness, Dreams of Light which brought together Jewish text, modes, Maronite Syriac chant and Sufi rhythm and structure.

Roxanna’s 50th Birthday year saw some exciting commissions and premieres. As well as the Proms, the oratorio Faithful Journey – a Mass for Poland for City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Poland, marked Poland’s centenary as an independent state. Recent commissions include Across the Line of Dreams for two conductors, two choirs and symphony orchestra premiered by Marin Alsop and Valentina Peleggi with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Ever Us commissioned by the Rundfunkchor Berlin, for 10 choirs and symphony orchestra, to premiere in 2024/25. Her operas, Silver Birch and Dalia commissioned by Garsington Opera received audience and critical acclaim.

2023 has seen the premiere of the reworking of her father Andrzej Panufnik’s Five Polish Folk Songs for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at the Ravinia Festival. She was commissioned by King Charles III to write Coronation Sanctus for his Coronation in May 2023, an orchestration of this was premiered at the Last Night of the Proms. Imminent premieres include a BBC Proms and VOCES8 coc-commission Floral Tribute (in memory of the late Queen Elizabeth II), a song cycle Gallery of Memories co-commissioned by the Oxford Lieder and Presteigne Festivals (for whom she is 2023 composer-in-residence), choral pieces for The Exultate Singers and Edmund’s Trust and Tears, no more for harpsichordist Jane Chapman and the London International Festival of Early Music.

An ardent fan and passionate partaker of the UK’s unique liturgical choral scene, Roxanna has been raising funds through her epic ‘Diamond Cycles’ for the Diamond Fund for Choristers, for whom she is a patron.

Roxanna is Associate composer with the London Mozart Players and Composer-in-Residence with VOCES8.

Roxanna’s compositions are published by Peters Edition Ltd and recorded on many labels including Warner Classics, Signum, Chandos, and EMI Classics.