Byron Wallen (born 1969) was raised in a musical family and as a child studied classical piano, euphonium, trumpet, flute and drums. In the mid 1980’s the trumpet became Wallen’s primary instrument of choice.
Wallen’s first major work, Tarot Suite (1994), was inspired by a love of mythology and symbolism, which reflected the archetypal journey of human life through an interdisciplinary pan-continental approach.
Wallen’s study of cognitive psychology has aided his transition towards conceptualising music as a medium for healing. Wallen raises awareness and invokes change by unlocking boundaries through the nature and science of sound.
Widely recognised as a seminal figure in jazz, Wallen is an acclaimed writer and producer whose original scores have been commissioned by the Science Museum, PRS, BBC, Jerwood Foundation, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, Arts Council, FIFA and Sage Gateshead. He has also composed soundscapes for Universal Pictures, Warner Bros and HBO series Game of Thrones. He also received the BBC Jazz Innovation Award in 2003 and has been nominated several times for the MOBOs.
Wallen’s current PRS commission Anthem for Woolwich forges new links between schools, venues, musicians and residents to strengthen the resilience and promote the cohesion of the community.
Byron Wallen | To be nominated and awarded one of the most generous and meticulously researched arts awards in the UK is an incredible affirmation. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation award offers me the most valuable and beautiful gifts of all, time and opportunity: Time to explore the space in which to create, and the opportunities to establish the links and platforms for diverse collaborations and exchange. My journey as a composer and a humanitarian is governed by 'sound'; sound being the way I process and renegotiate the internal and external worlds, thoughts, feelings, conversations and behaviours. This award will prove to be a wonderful life-changing prospect of enormous value.