Paul Stanhope 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. He has been awarded four APRA/Australian Music Centre Art awards in Instrumental, Orchestral, Choral and Vocal music categories and was also the first composer to receive a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in 2013 and 2014.
In 2010 Paul was Musica Viva Australia’s featured composer, receiving nation-wide performances by the Pavel Haas Quartet, 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 a new Piano Trio 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 in collaboration with librettist Steve Hawke and members of the Bunuba nation in North Western Australia. Written for large choral and orchestral forces as well as singers, actors and dancers from the Bunuba Community, it was premiered by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Gondwana Choirs and has since had a return performance in October 2019, presented by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Jandamarra has been recognized as a milestone in Australian composition.
More recently, Sydney Chamber Choir premiered another major work, a Requiem, which has been hailed by the Sydney Morning Herald as a ‘Major Contribution to Australian Choral Music’. A new Violin Sonata which was to be premiered in a national tour by Musica Viva in 2020 will instead receive a digital release in 2021 with a performance by Andrew Haveron and Simon Tedeschi.
Over the last few years, Paul has enjoyed collaborating with the musicians of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and director Tim McGarry in creating the children’s music theatre piece ‘There’s a Sea in my Bedroom’ which premiered in 2019, with a digital release on the Sydney Opera House’s channel in 2020. ‘Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge’, based on the children’s book by Mem Fox, is a joyful and touching follow up collaboration with the ACO to be premiered in May 2021, this time under the directorship of Sandie Eldridge.
Paul is an Associate Professor of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney and also the Artistic Chair of the Australia Ensemble, UNSW.