Saturday 17 March 2018

Malala Yousafzai's UN speech being set to music for International Women's Day

Malala Yousafzai, who was shot on a school bus by Taliban gunmen
Malala Yousafzai, who was shot on a school bus by Taliban gunmen

The speech which Malala Yousafzai delivered to the United Nations on her 16th birthday is being set to new music to mark International Women's Day.

BBC Radio 3 will air the new commission, entitled Speak Out.

Former Pakistani schoolgirl Yousafzai, who was shot on a school bus by Taliban gunmen, addressed the UN in 2013 .

The new piece, performed by the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, will feature extracts from the campaigner's speech, in which she called for free compulsory education for every child.

The Nobel laureate, 19, said: "I am honoured and excited that my speech inspired a composer to set it to music and that it will be performed and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on International Women's Day.

"As the speech is a call to raise our voices, it makes me very happy that it will be sung by a large choir, that so many voices will rise to share the message of education for all.

"It is wonderful that the message and the music will reach many more people through the live radio broadcast."

Kate Whitley, who is composing the new piece, said: "The theme for International Women's Day 2017 is Be Bold For Change - trying to find ways to make a more gender inclusive world - which chimes exactly with what Malala's text is about."

BBC Radio 3 controller Alan Davey also announced that six leading female composers will guest edit parts of the Radio 3 schedule on International Women's Day.

He said the station had to do more to increase diversity, adding that "as the people's radio station - paid for by the licence fee - we need to reflect our people, the people who pay for us."

He said in a speech at the Association of British Orchestras conference: "Our International Women's Day programming this year reflects our ambition to extend the established 'canon', giving much-deserved recognition to the brightest and best of female composing talent past and present."

The piece will debut on March 8, International Women's Day, at BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 the same evening.

Press Association

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