Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to write new work for King Charles III, as coronation music announced

18 February 2023, 22:30 | Updated: 20 February 2023, 12:03

Music at His Majesty the King’s coronation at Westminster Abbey
Music at His Majesty the King’s coronation at Westminster Abbey. Picture: Getty

By Kyle Macdonald

Twelve new works will form the musical centrepiece of King Charles III’s coronation at Westminster Abbey, casting a spotlight on leading British composers and performers.

Buckingham Palace has revealed the music at His Majesty the King’s coronation will include a new Coronation Anthem by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and eleven other pieces personally commissioned by King Charles.

Lloyd Webber said he hopes his new anthem, which is scored for the Westminster Abbey choir and organ, and the ceremonial brass and orchestra, “reflects this joyful occasion”.

Read more: What music will feature at His Majesty the King’s coronation at Westminster Abbey?

The new works for the service at London’s Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 May 2022 are each by world-renowned British composers. They will be performed by leading classical artists of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

Westminster Abbey’s recently appointed organist and master of the choristers, Andrew Nethsingha, will direct the music of the service and oversee all musical arrangements.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and King Charles III
Andrew Lloyd Webber and King Charles III. Picture: Getty

Joining Lloyd Webber in composing music for the historic occasion are Master of the King’s Music, Judith Weir, Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J. Thompson, Roderick Williams, and Classic FM’s Composer in Residence, Debbie Wiseman.

Wiseman said it was “an immense honour” to have been asked to compose music for the coronation.

“Bringing together composers, musicians and singers from every corner of our richly varied and colourful musical culture, this momentous ceremony marries the new and diverse with the established, well-loved and traditional,” she added.

There will also be a new commission for solo organ, weaving together musical themes from countries across the Commonwealth by British organist and composer Iain Farrington.

‘God Save the King’, sung by soprano Alexandra Stevenson

Performances in the service will be led by some of the finest operatic voices of our time, with Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, South African soprano Pretty Yende and British baritone Roderick Williams all named as soloists.

A special coronation orchestra will be conducted by Royal Opera House conductor Sir Antonio Pappano.

The official Royal Harpist Alis Huws will perform as part of the orchestra, in recognition of The King’s long-standing affection for Wales and the country’s musical traditions.

His Royal Highness and Sir Antonio Pappano at the Royal College of Music in 2020
His Royal Highness and Sir Antonio Pappano at the Royal College of Music in 2020. Picture: Getty

Before the service, Sir John Eliot Gardiner will conduct The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists in a pre-service programme of choral music.

This programme is expected to feature the music of William Byrd, George Frideric Handel, Edward Elgar, Hubert Parry and Sir Karl Jenkins.

The service will be sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, together with girl choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College, Belfast and Truro Cathedral Choir.

The Ascension Choir will sing gospel music as part of the service, which will also feature Greek Orthodox music from the Byzantine Chant Ensemble in tribute to his late father, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Fanfares will be played by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force, and the King’s Scholars of Westminster School will proclaim the traditional ‘Vivat’ acclamations.

Read about all the music featuring at the King’s Coronation here >