Coronation to feature 12 commissions

Hattie Butterworth
Monday, February 20, 2023

New works to features alongside traditional anthems at May's service

Twelve new commissions will feature at the The Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 May 2023 alongside traditional coronation anthems.

Combining a range of styles and performers, the service will showcase musical talent from across the commonwealth, as well as reflecting The King’s life-long dedication to music and the arts.

The newly appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey, Andrew Nethsingha will direct the music during the service, whilst Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director for the Royal Opera House, will be conducting the Coronation Orchestra with members including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, Sir John Eliot Gardiner will conduct The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists in a pre-Service programme of choral music.

The Service will be sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, with girl choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College, Belfast and from Truro Cathedral Choir. The Ascension Choir, a handpicked gospel choir will also perform as part of the Service and The King’s Scholars of Westminster School will proclaim the traditional ‘Vivat’ acclamations.

Six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions and one organ commission, have been composed for the occasion by British composers, encompassing Classical, Sacred, Film, Television and Musical Theatre genres. Commissioned works include a new Coronation Anthem by Andrew Lloyd Webber, a Coronation March by Patrick Doyle, a new commission for solo organ by Iain Farrington with new works by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O'Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J. Thompson, Judith Weir, Roderick Williams, and Debbie Wiseman.

Soloists will include bass-baritone, Sir Bryn Terfel; soprano, Pretty Yende and baritone, Roderick Williams. The organ will be played by Sub-Organist, Westminster Abbey, Peter Holder, and Assistant Organist, Westminster Abbey, Matthew Jorysz.

Other musical items include Greek Orthodox music as a tribute to the King’s late father Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh performed by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble. The official Royal Harpist Alis Huws will also perform as part of the Coronation Orchestra and Fanfares will be played by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force.

Music by the likes of William Byrd, George Friederic Handel, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Henry Walford Davies, Sir William Walton, Sir Hubert Parry and Ralph Vaughan Williams has historically featured in the Service over the past four centuries and will be included in the programme along with the music of British composer, Sir Karl Jenkins.

Speaking on his involvement in the ceremony, Westminster Abbey’s Organist and Master of the Choristers Andrew Nethsingha said: ’As was the case in the four twentieth-century Coronations, the choice of music reflects the cultural breadth of the age in which we live.' He added 'It has been a privilege to collaborate with His Majesty in choosing fine musicians and accessible, communicative music for this great occasion.’

Gramophone Print

  • Print Edition

From £6.67 / month


Gramophone Digital Club

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive
  • Reviews Database
  • Full website access

From £8.75 / month



If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.