Paul Stanhope

(b. 1969): Biography

Paul Stanhope (b. 1969) is a Sydney-based composer, conductor and educator. His compositions have had prominent performances in the UK, Europe, Asia as well as North and South America. After studies with Andrew Ford, Andrew Schultz and Peter Sculthorpe in Australia, Paul was awarded the Charles Mackerras Scholarship which enabled him to study at the Guildhall School of Music in London in 2000.

In May 2004 Paul’s international standing was confirmed when he was awarded first place in the prestigious Toru Takemitsu Composition Prize. In 2011 he was awarded two APRA/Australian Music Centre Awards for Instrumental Work of the Year and in 2018 he was awarded Orchestral Work of the Year. Paul was also the first composer to receive a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship which enabled him to work on large orchestral projects in 2013 and 2014.

In 2010 Paul was Musica Viva’s featured composer: his String Quartet no. 2 received nation-wide performances by the Pavel Haas Quartet as part of this season, as did his Agnus Dei - After the Fire for violin and piano, performed by the stellar duo Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien. Other choral and chamber works received national tours by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge and the Atos Piano Trio from Berlin. Paul’s music has also been featured at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival (Wales) in 2009, The City of London Festival in 2011 and at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in 2016. In 2018 his new Piano Trio ‘Pulses’ was premiered by eight competing trios from around the world as part of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.

2014 saw the premiere of Jandamarra: Sing for the Country, a music-drama based on the life of the Western Australian indigenous resistance hero. Scored for solo baritone, choirs, an indigenous ensemble of singers and dancers and orchestra, it was premiered by large forces including singers and dancers from the Bunuba Community in Western Australia, Gondwana Choirs and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO). It has been hailed as a work of major cultural significance and will have another performance season in Sydney in 2019.

Paul’s Piccolo Concerto was featured in performances by the Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras in 2013 and was released on an ABC Classics recording the following year. This work was followed by a Cello Concerto ‘Dawn and Darkness’ composed in 2016 for the SSO and an award-winning Trombone Concerto premiered by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in 2017. In 2019, Paul is composing a new work for massed choral forces for the Gondwana Choirs World Choral Festival as well as a Children’s music-theatre piece in collaboration with the ACO Collective.

A CD of his choral works ‘Lux Aeterna’, recorded by Sydney Chamber Choir was released on ABC Classics in 2017 following on from Stanhope’s stint as musical director of the choir from 2006-2015.

Paul is now an Associate Professor of composition as well as Artistic Director of choral programs at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney and, since 2014, has been the Artistic Chair of the Australia Ensemble at UNSW.