BBC Music Magazine speaks to composer Sally Beamish about the music that’s shaped who she is today, as well as the music that’s keeping her company during lockdown.


Sally started her musical life as a viola player, something she has continued throughout her career alongside her composing. She studied composition under the inimitable Oliver Knussen. Until fairly recently, she was based in Scotland, a country whose rich folk tradition has had a major impact on her compositions. Her work spans many forms, from ballet to opera, and is renowned for its diverse influences, rich textures and timeless quality.

Sally spoke with our editorial assistant Freya Parr via video conferencing software during lockdown from her home in Brighton, where she lives with her husband and collaborator, the writer Peter Thompson.

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Listen to Sally's musical choices here: