A famed Aberdeen-based composer’s new version of a popular Christmas carol is to be showcased at a US landmark.
Professor Paul Mealor, of the University of Aberdeen, has penned a rendition of Silent Night, which will be performed at the Washington National Cathedral on December 16 and 17.
The historic cathedral has hosted its share of US presidents, both real and fictitious. It featured in a pivotal scene of the US TV drama The West Wing in which a grieving President Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, curses God in Latin.
Prof Mealor said: “I have written a rendition of Silent Night. It is a brand new composition but with the same lyrics.
“I think the lyrics of Silent Night are so beautiful.
“I was delighted, humbled and excited about getting the commission. I can’t wait to hear my music in that fabulous acoustic.”
The work will be performed by the cathedral’s choir during the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony – and Prof Mealor will be travelling to Washington later this year for the performance.
The Welsh-born composer is best known for a piece he wrote six years ago to celebrate the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The 41-year-old, who marks his 15th year at the University of Aberdeen in January, said the US opportunity first came up five years ago.
He said: “It was in 2012 that I got asked to do the composition for the 2017 show as they have a different composer for the show every year.”
He said of his inspiration: “I just went to the piano and I just wanted it to be simple and beautiful; it is a very different type of piece.
“It is not the kind of composition you can sing along to, it has to be performed.
“I have never been to Washington, I am really excited about going over and listening to my composition.”
Prof Mealor is becoming quite well-known in the US thanks to his work for the royal wedding and his UK chart success with Wherever You Go, performed by the Military Wives Choir.
His work has been performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York to sell-out audiences for the past three years, and he was in America last month to record a CD of his music with the Same Steam Choir in Philadelphia.
He is now back in Aberdeen and teaching, to inspire the next generation of musicians and composers.