Paul Drayton

Paul Drayton

Conductor

Paul Drayton

After graduating from Oxford University, Paul taught music (and a little maths) at New College Choir School, then joined the staff of Stowe School, while also running adult evening classes. His love of the piano led him into a variety of genres – concertos with orchestra, solo recitals, jazz – even playing keyboard in a show celebrating the music of David Bowie.

His association with St. Austell Choral Society dates from his move to Cornwall. He has written many arrangements and original works for the choir, notably a setting of Tennyson’s poem The Lady of Shalott. His compositions have been performed throughout the UK and worldwide – at the Three Choirs Festival, King’s College, Cambridge, Washington Cathedral, the Hollywood Bowl, the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Theater an der Wien, and Suntori Hall in Tokyo.

As Director of Music for Duchy Opera he conducted such works as La Traviata, Tosca, The Wreckers, and Un Ballo in Maschera, as well as his own opera The Hanging Oak, based on a ghost story by M. R. James. Introducing young people to music has always been a part of his work, and his opera The Mermaid of Zennor fielded a cast of 270 children. His beginner’s piano book (published by OUP) has sold 80,000 copies to date.

His Passion as told by Mark the Evangelist was performed by The Three Spires Singers and orchestra in Truro Cathedral and also broadcast on Radio 3 by the BBC Singers. His choral arrangement of Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending was recorded by the Swedish Chamber Choir (Chandos CHSA 5255) with the violinist Jennifer Pike. He has also enjoyed a long association with The King’s Singers.

Earlier in his career, with the approval of J. R. R. Tolkien, he created music for a children’s staged version of The Hobbit, the author attending a performance in person. A BBC Radio 4 documentary later told the story of this venture, the first ever staged Hobbit with music, created long before the blockbuster films!

Paul’s book, Unheard Melodies, a light-hearted guide to classical music for the non-specialist, is available from Amazon.