Photo: Graeme Willis
Alison Willis
Composer, Nottingham

Alison (b. 1971) is an award winning composer whose works have been performed and broadcast internationally. Her music has been described as, ‘Stunning’, ‘Intensely moving’, ‘Beautiful yet pragmatic’ and ‘Saying what you have to say and then stopping’. She finds particular inspiration in historical sources and events, social issues and working collaboratively with both young people and adults. Recent works include the Derby Service (Derby Cathedral 2021), Salve Deus, Rex Judaeorum (Luminosa 2022), Like the Dove (Charles Wood Festival 2020), The Wind’s Warning (Gesualdo Six 2019), and Gold and Spices (ORA Singers 2019).

I particularly wanted to be a part of this project for several reasons. First because it combines story-telling, singing and obviously composing... all my favourite things! Secondly because I really enjoy collaborative work, being a part of enabling people to develop something exciting and new by expressing themselves through words and music. Thirdly I have an ongoing passion for forgotten voices, be that medieval texts, little known writings by women or marginalised groups. I am particularly drawn to this journey as I experienced homelessness in my twenties, prefaced by a number of precarious private lets and culminating in living in a converted van, (known as Bertie Bus) for several years, travelling from site to site as circumstances dictated. I therefore have some personal experience of the powerlessness and fear of having nowhere secure to call home and of society’s prejudice, thoughtlessness and dismissive or violent attitude. I very much look forward to working with everyone at Streetwise Opera and finding out what we will create together.