Malala Yousafzai’s speech will be set to music for International Women’s Day

Malala Yousafzai

Composer Kate Whitley will be performing the piece tonight

Commissioned by BBC Radio Three, South London composer and pianist Kate Whitley will be performing her piece Speak Out tonight, which will be followed by a radio broadcast. Performing alongside Whitley will be the BBC National Orchestra, Chorus of Wales and the children’s choir Cor Y Cwm.

The piece will feature quotes from Malala Yousafzai’s empowering speech in 2013, whereby she addressed the United Nations Youth Assembly with a speech on how every girl should have the right to an education.

Whitley has taken specific quotes to create a verse on the power of words. The first verse will be sung by a choir: “Let us pick up our books and pens / Let us wage a glorious struggle / We can never all succeed when half of us are held back / One child, one pen, one teacher, one book can change our world”.

Further quotes that have been used are “Today is the day we speak out” and “Today is the day of every woman, every man, every boy and every girl”.

Yousafzai tells the Guardian“As the speech is a call to raise our voices, it makes me very happy that it will be sung by a large choir, that so many voices will rise to share the message of education for all.”

Taking place at the BBC Hoddinott Hall at 19.30 GMT tonight (8 March), BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting the piece at 21.30 GMT.

Watch Malala Yousafzai’s 2013 UN speech below.