Commissioned by Tomorrow’s Warriors from British-Bahraini trumpeter/composer, Yazz Ahmed (pictured) for an all-female edition of Nu Civilisation Orchestra in March 2015, Polyhymnia is inspired by the lives of six influential and incredible statements of womanhood – individuals who inspired fundamental change in norms and attitudes, changed the course of history or who quietly, each day become more powerful sources of inspiration. Polyhymnia is about six extraordinary women:
- Haifaa al-Mansour – first female Saudi film director whose film, ‘Wajda’ examined challenges and societal pressures facing girls and women in one of the world’s most restrictive countries.
- Ruby Bridges – aged 6, was the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the south of the USA.
- Malala Yousafzai – Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for fighting for her right to go to school.
- Rosa Parks – African-American civil rights activist.
- The Suffragettes — British women fighting for the right to vote.
- Barbara Thompson – British jazz saxophonist, battling Parkinson’s disease and still performing in spite of the pain she experiences everyday.
Polyhymnia received its world premiere on International Women’s Day, Sunday 8 March 2015 in The Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
Polyhymnia was made possible with generous funding through the Women Make Music initiative from PRS for Music Foundation.