Shirley J. Thompson, Reader in the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design has been listed at number eight in the 2017 Top 100 Most Influential People of African and Caribbean Heritage which includes comedian Sir Lenny Henry, Olympic champion Mo Farah, and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.

Thompson said: “I am thrilled and humbled by this recognition of my achievements in the world of arts, culture, entertainment and entrepreneurship.”

In addition to her academic work, Thompson is a renowned composer. She is first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony within the past 40 years. The work ‘New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony’, was premiered in Romania in mid-October.

Thompson’s opera ‘Sacred Mountain: Episodes in the Life of Queen Nanny of the Maroons’ also received national and international acclaim throughout the year.

She received the 2016 UWI Luminary Award for 'distinct and outstanding international contribution to music and the arts globally, and was recently chosen as BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week.

Speaking about her work, Thompson said: “As a cultural activist, for me, universal involvement in music and the arts are critical in the fostering of cohesive communities. This recognition of artistic entrepreneurship, speaks to the power and influence of culture and the arts in our lives.”

‘The Franklin Effect’, a CD to which Thompson contributed two operatic works, was launched last week by First Hand Records. It stems from a science and music project, Minerva Scientifica, where Thompson, alongside three leading composers, produced musical artwork from scientific research conducted by four collaborating scientists at King's College London. Her compositions reflect on DNA reproduction and cell mutation.

Thompson was also commissioned to compose music for the opening of the Parliamentary exhibition ‘The British Slave Trade: Abolition, Parliament and People’, and composed a piece commissioned by the Southbank Centre to commemorate 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency.

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