Music for the Coronation Announced

18th April 2023

The choice of music “reflects the cultural breadth of the age in which we live”

Andrew Nethsingha, organist and master of Choristers at Westminster Abbey.

Buckingham Palace has announced the music for the coronation.

Buckingham Palace has revealed that the music at The King’s coronation has been personally commissioned by King Charles and will include six orchestral, five choral and one organ commissions, all from world-renowned British composers.

It includes ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ a new Coronation Anthem by Andrew Lloyd Weber, scored for the choir and organ of Westminster Abbey which includes words from Psalm 98.

The service will take place at 11am on Saturday 6 May at Westminster Abbey – the start of weekend of celebrations and events to mark this historic occasion.

There will be solo performances from bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, soprano Pretty Yende and baritone, Roderick Williams, with a special Coronation Orchestra brought together from orchestras of the former Prince of Wales’ patronages and conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. music director at the Royal Opera House.

Royal Opera House - Providing Music for the Coronation

Royal Harpist, Alis Huws, will perform as part of the Coronation Orchestra in celebration of the King’s long-standing relationship with Wales. One of the liturgical sections of the ceremony will also be performed in Welsh.

Bell Ringers across the country have been asked to Ring for the King, what to ring and when has recently been announced. 

Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner will lead The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists in a pre-service programme of choral music. A small group of singers from The Monteverdi Choir will also join the main choral ensemble for the service.

A specially written prayer for the Coronation here.

In tribute to his late father Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the King’s own request, the Byzantine Chant Ensemble will perform Greek Orthodox music during the service.

Fanfares will be played by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force.

God Save the King will be sung by soprano Alexandra Stevenson.

Describing the musical programme, the Palace said it blended

“tradition, heritage and ceremony with new musical voices of today, reflecting The King’s life-long love and support of music and the arts”.

There will also be a new commission for the solo organ incorporating musical themes from countries across the Commonwealth by Iain Farrington, plus new works by 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.

Six of the new commissions have been composed for orchestra and will be performed before the start of the Service. Weir’s work, ‘Brighter Visions Shine Afar’, will be the first performance by the Coronation Orchestra on the day.

‘Coronation Kyrie’ by Paul Mealor will be the first Welsh language work to be performed at a Coronation and he described it as:

“… a cry from the deep soul of the hills and valleys of Wales for hope, peace, love and friendship.”

In another first, the Coronation will feature a gospel choir, the first time this kind of ensemble has performed at the historic Royal event.

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 from Truro Cathedral Choir. The Abbey organ will be played by sub-organist Peter Holder, and assistant organist, Matthew Jorysz.

Andrew Nethsingha, organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey, will direct the music during the service and oversee all the musical arrangements.

He said the choice of music for the Coronation ceremony “reflects the cultural breadth of the age in which we live”.

“It has been a privilege to collaborate with His Majesty in choosing fine musicians and accessible, communicative music for this great occasion,” he added.

The Palace said that music by Byrd, Handel, Elgar, Walton, Parry, Vaughan Williams and Sir Henry Walford Davies – which has historically featured at coronations – will be included in the service and there will also be music by Welsh Adiemus composer Sir Karl Jenkins.

A full music programme will be revealed in early May.