Paul Stanhope (b. 1969) is recognised as a leading composer of his generation not only in Australia but also internationally, with performances of his works in the UK, Europe, Japan and the United States. After studies with Andrew Ford, Andrew Schultz and Peter Sculthorpe in Australia, Paul was awarded the Charles Mackerras Scholarship which enabled him to study for a time at the Guildhall School of Music in London.
He writes: “My music presents the listener with an optimistic, personal geography . . . whether this is a reaction to the elemental aspects of the universe (both the celestial and terrestrial) or the throbbing energy of the inner-city”.
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 (String Quartet No. 2) and Vocal/Choral Piece of the Year (Deserts of Exile) and prior to that was awarded the Albert H. Maggs Award from the University of Melbourne for his String Quartet No. 1 in 2010.
In 2009 Paul was featured composer Vale of Glamorgan Festival in the Wales, where his music was performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In 2010 he was Musica Viva’s featured composer: Paul’s String Quartet no. 2 received nation-wide performances by the Pavel Hass 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.
Some of Paul’s newest compositions have focused on vocal and chamber music forms. His choral work Exile Lamentations (2007-2008), which was initially co-commissioned and performed by the Elysian Singers of London and the Melbourne Symphony Chorus, was recently extended into a cantata-length work in a collaborative project with oud player Joseph Tawadros and performed in its entirety by the Sydney Chamber Choir which he also directs. Recent orchestral pieces include Cloudforms (2007) commissioned by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Machinations (2006)for the Melbourne Symphony. Paul is composing new works for the Adelaide Chamber Singers and ACO2 for performance in 2011.
Paul Stanhope teaches composition part-time at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and at MLC School in Sydney.