Paul Stanhope

Composer and Musician

What is your musical background?

I studied Arts, then composition at Sydney University with Peter Sculthorpe as my main teacher and mentor. I also spent a bit of time at the University of York, close to a year at the Guildhall School of Music in London plus summer schools in the USA. I sang in choirs from a young age, and in my 20s joined Sydney Chamber Choir, who I later conducted as a guest and then was musical director of this group for 9 years. I’ve had a strong association with Gondwana Choirs throughout their lifetime. Four years ago I began to work in positions at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and as Artistic Chair of the Australia Ensemble.

What is your advice to singers performing your works?

Tempo is always an important first step! Check the metronome. Then let the words lead you, since they lead me in their text setting. Look out for word painting and the odd musical joke which I try to slip in!

What are your favourite pieces you’ve composed?

It’s usually whatever I am working on at the moment! I’ve enjoyed a really rich array of compositions from orchestral pieces, chamber music and vocal and choral works for children through to adults. I quite like my Second String Quartet (thanks to a beautiful recording by the Australian String Quartet) and I’m also very proud of the performances on my ‘Lux Aeterna’ CD on ABC Classics.

The Acrobat Video

Lux Aeterna  Video