Paul Patterson is one of the most prominent composers of his generation. He studied trombone and composition at the Royal Academy of Music. He returned there to become Head of Composition and Contemporary Music until 1997, when he became Manson Professor of Composition. In his time at the Academy, it is fair to say that Patterson has almost single-handedly been responsible for the creation of the Contemporary Music Department. His tireless devotion to new music, along with his desire to introduce the music of contemporary masters to students (in both composition and performance fields), has resulted in the creation of annual festivals devoted to a single composer at the Academy. He has worked with South East Arts, the University of Warwick the London Sinfonietta and is currently Composer-in-Residence with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and celebrates his tenth year with them in 2007.
Patterson’s compositions reveal a preoccupation with unusual combinations of sound and rhythm. Stravinsky and Hindemith were early influences, as were Penderecki and Lutosławski. Thanks to a growing number of commissions from the likes of the Three Choirs’ Festival, the 20th century English choral tradition forms the basis of his current musical language remaining sufficiently complex while at the same time appealing to the musical public.
Patterson is an important figure in the choral field and his enthusiasm for music both challenging and enjoyable to performers and audiences has produced a number of important large-scale choral works, most notably the Mass of the Sea (1983), Stabat Mater (1986), Te Deum (1988) the Millennium Mass (2000).
His works are performed regularly by leading performers in the United Kingdom and abroad, most popular among which are the orchestral setting of Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood and the Violin Concerto.
Many of his works have been recorded including Little Red Riding Hood (both in English and Norwegian), Magnificat op.75, Royal Eurostar fanfare, the Comedy for Five Winds and Westerly Winds. The most recent recordings of his works are Hell’s Angels and The Three Little Pigs.
Patterson is a tireless advocate for contemporary music having organised many special composer festivals at the Royal Academy of Music and in 1996 he was honoured with the PRS/RPS Leslie Boosey Award.
Paul Patterson’s recent works include a string octet, Deviations for the Goldberg Ensemble, a Cello Concerto for Raphael Wallfisch, Jubilee Dances commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the BBC Concert Orchestra, the music for Roald Dahl’s version of The Three Little Pigs Commissioned by the Basle Symphony Orchestra and a short orchestral work titled Orchestra on Parade.
Patterson was awarded the John Armitage Memorial Commission for 2005. For this, he composed The Fifth Continent, a work for solo counter tenor, choir, brass quintet and organ, which received its premiere in Southwark Cathedral in March 2005 and has subsequently been heard in Edinburgh. The work receives further performances by the BBC Singers during the 2006/7 season.
Commissions during Patterson’s 60th birthday season include works for the BBC Singers, the Orchestra of the Swan, a work for Viola and String Orchestra for the English Sinfonia, a new organ work for Thomas Trotter and a work for Cor Anglais for Nicholas Daniel.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra has recently released a disc with new recordings of The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, narrated by Chris Jarvis and conducted by David Parry. A recording of the Cello Concerto is due for release in 2007 with Raphael Wallfisch and the South West German Chamber Orchestra (Pforzheim) from the Nimbus label.
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