Britain`s Queen appoints first female music master

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 29, 2014, 17:21 PM IST

London: Britain`s Queen Elizabeth II will appoint the first woman to the prestigious post of master of the Queen`s music next month since the position was created almost 400 years ago.

The composer Judith Weir, 60, will reportedly be named as the successor to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies by Buckingham Palace.

Weir`s appointment comes five years after Carol Ann Duffy was made the first female poet laureate and will be seen as further recognition of women`s influence in the arts.

A key role of the master of the Queen`s music, who is appointed for 10 years, is to compose ceremonial works for events such as royal weddings and funerals.

Although the post- first conferred on Nicholas Lanier by Charles I in 1626- is less well known than that of poet laureate, it has been associated with some illustrious names.

Weir, who was born in Cambridge to Scottish parents, was selected by Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen`s private secretary and will take up her post later this summer.

Some of her music is inspired by medieval history and traditional Scottish stories that she heard when she lived in Glasgow in the 1970s.

"I happened to share a house with a folk musician," she had told the newspaper in a 2008 interview.
Weir is considered to be liberal-left in outlook, with a political conscience.

In 2005 Channel 4 broadcast her opera Armida about the conflict in the Middle East that she had composed during the Iraq invasion two years before.