Lucy Pankhurst is a composer based in the northwest of England. She is a performance (tenor horn, 2004) and composition (2007) graduate of the RNCM, where she was also awarded a PhD in 2020 for her work focussing on contemporary applications of the traditional brass band.


As a composer, Lucy has received many accolades for her work, most notably in 2011 when she became the first female composer to be presented with a British Composer Award in the Brass/Wind Band category. In Pitch Black was also the first brass band work to win a BCA. Her work has subsequently been shortlisted for the awards on four more occasions. Lucy has also been a member of the judging panel for the British Composer Awards/Novellos and adjudicated the 2019 EBBC Composers Competition alongside Dr John Pickard and Oliver Waespi.


Large-scale composition projects include commissions for the Durham International Brass Festival (Pathways - 2015), a multiple ensemble ACE-funded mixed media project at the Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland and the Sage, Gateshead (Reflection Connection – 2016), a residency at the IWBC in Philadelphia (2017), a PRSF-funded experimental brass band work (Th’owfen Raconteurs – 2013) and a vocal/electroacoustic installation at Salisbury Cathedral to commemorate the Christmas Truce of 1914 at the Ageas International Salisbury Arts Festival (Voices from No Man’s Land – 2014). Please see the PROJECTS tab for more info.


In 2018, Lucy was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to create a vocal work celebrating 100 years of suffrage, with text developed with Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, Dr Helen Pankhurst. The Pankhurst Anthem was recorded by the BBC Singers and premiered at the 2018 BBC Free Thinking Festival at the Sage, Gateshead.


Lucy has a particular interest in projects which involve research and collaboration. She has composed a number of site/performer-specific works and also has a growing collection of pieces that respond to specific artistic stimuli. For example; Sekhemti (solo trumpet - Head and Arm from monumental red granite statue of Amenhotep III) and Cristallum Calvariam (violin/voice - Rock Crystal Skull) were performed at the British Museum next to their respective artefacts as part of the 2013 RNCM Sound Histories event. Examples for large ensemble are Marilyn (brass band) is a musical reflection on Andy Warhol’s screenprints of Marilyn Monroe (commissioned for the 2014 Brass in Concert Festival at the Sage) and Ticket: 250654 (wind orchestra) based on the ticket number assigned to the musicians aboard the Titanic.


As a music educator and animateur, Lucy has composed many pieces for youth ensembles - from string orchestras, to massed ‘flexible’ ensembles. Over the last 10 years, Lucy has also developed and delivered a whole-class programme of music for KS2 beginner brass, which has led to her current work in producing Puzzle Pieces - an extensive flexible music programme for all instruments (from first access to advanced players), as part of an Erasmus+ international project. In addition to her work in schools, she has also lectured at Huddersfield University and been a guest speaker at the University of Salford, the University of Leicester and Bath Spa University.


Lucy Pankhurst © 2020

Photo by  Steve Hocking (2011)

Lucy and Tenor Horn (thanks to Steve Hocking)