Chair in Composition
Paul Mealor is one of the world's most 'performed' living composers and has been described as, ‘the most important composer to have emerged in Welsh choral music since William Mathias’ (New York Times, 2001) and his music is, ‘marked by something outside of himself that is beautifully spatial and evocative of landscape… it illuminates both our past and our future' (The Guardian, 2011).
Topping the Classical Charts for six weeks with his bestselling album, ‘A Tender Light’ (featuring Tenebrae Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) in November 2011, he also broke records by being the first classical composer to hold both the classical and pop chart No 1’s at the same time in December 2011, securing the UK Christmas No 1 with his piece for The Military Wives Choir and Gareth Malone, ‘Wherever You Are’. ‘Wherever You Are’ entered the UK Pop Singles Chart at number 1 on 19th December, selling over 556,000 copies in one week, more than the rest of the Top 12 combined, and was nominated for Best British Single in the 2012 BRIT Awards. It has been named, by the Official Charts Company as, the fastest selling single since Elton John’s ‘Candle in the Wind’. Also, in April of 2012 Mealor was voted the nation’s favorite living composer during the UK Classic FM Hall of Fame.
Born in St Asaph, North Wales in 1975, Paul Mealor studied composition privately as a boy with William Mathias and later with John Pickard, and at the University of York (BA Hons, 1997, PhD, 2002) and in Copenhagen with Hans Abrahamsen and Per Nørgård. His music has been commissioned and performed at many festivals and by many orchestras and choruses and has been broadcast on every major TV and Radio station throughout the world. Since January 2003 he has taught in the Music Department at the University of Aberdeen where he is Professor of Composition.
Mealor was catapulted to international stardom in April 2011, when 2.5 billion people (the largest audience in broadcasting history) heard his Motet, Ubi caritas performed by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, conducted by James O’Donnell at the Royal Wedding Ceremony of His Royal Highness Prince William and Catherine Middleton (now TRH The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge) at Westminster Abbey. It since topped the Classical singles charts in the USA, UK, Australia, France and New Zealand.
In July 2011, Mealor signed to Decca Records and signed a publishing deal with Novello & Co. His first album for Decca, A Tender Light - a collection of sacred anthems recorded by Tenebrae and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - spent six weeks at No 1 of the Specialist Classical Charts. He is currently preparing his second album for Decca and has contributed new works to a number of other Decca albums, including his song In My Dreams for X factor star Jonjo Kerr, which entered the pop charts at number one, knocking Bruce Springsteen off the top spot; De Profundis for the St Petersburg Chamber Choir on the album Tranquillity (which also made No 1 in the Classical Charts in August 2012), and the first ever musical setting of St Francis' prayer, You Are The Holy Lord God for Friar Alessandro's debut album.
Mealor wrote a number of works for HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. He has composed an opera, ‘74 Degrees North’ (2010) for Scottish opera and three symphonies - No 1 'Passiontide' is for choir, soloists and orchestra (2009-2015); No 2 'Sacred Places' (2016) for the NEW Sinfonia and, No 3 ‘Illumination’ (2018) for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. His Euphonium Concerto (2017) was commissioned and premiered by David Childs and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Last Night of the Welsh Proms, 2017, conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes CBE and recorded by Childs and the BBC Philharmonic (Chandos; 2019) and he composed a special work 'Twilight Falls on Temple View' to mark the 25th birthday of Classic FM and the 10th anniversary of the founding of Dumfries House in August 2017. His short, Requiem was featured at the Welsh National Eisteddfod in 2017 by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. His ’Requiem: The Souls of the Righteous’ was premiered by the National Youth Choir of Scotland and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, September 2018 in Edinburgh prior to its USA premiere by DCINY at Carnegie Hall, New York on November 11th 2018.
Mealor is the first President of Ty Cerdd - Wales’s National Centre for music making and Patron of the Welsh Music Guild. He is Vice-President of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and the North Wales International Music Festival and was the Curator of JAM on the Marsh in Kent (2015-17) and Composer in Residence with Canada's top professional choir, Pro Coro Canada. He has received many awards and honours for his music including Honorary Fellowships from Bangor University (2013) and Glyndwr University (2012) in Wrexham and the Glanville Jones Award, from the Welsh Music Guild, for his outstanding contribution to music in Wales (2013). He was appointed a Free Burgess of The City of Aberdeen in 2012 by The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, and is President and Patron of many organisations. In January 2018, HM Queen Elizabeth II appointed him an Officer of the Venerable Order of St John (OStJ). In May 2019 he was appointed to the Order of the Samurai (OSS) at Great Shogun Level and in March 2020 he was admitted as a Commander of the Catholic Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem (CLJ).
- Further Info
PublicationsDr Mealor's research is in composition.
His work is published by the University of York Music Press Ltd (www.uymp.co.uk)
The following are a list of completed compositions for the 2001-08 RAE Period:
Illumination (2003) (Full Orchestra). Duration: 2 ½ Minutes
Commissioned and First performed by the Aberdeen Symphony Orchestra, The Mitchell Hall, Aberdeen, November 2003, conducted by Roger B. Williams.
Rising of The Sixfold Sun (1998-2001) (Full Orchestra). Duration: 15 Minutes
First performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, St David's Hall, Cardiff, February 2001 conducted by Thomas Dausgaard. Broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Ceremony of Light (1999-2001) (Chamber Orchestra). 18 Min.
First performed by Northern Sinfonia, Newcastle, May 2001 conducted by Baldur Bronniman.
Liturgy of Fire (2006) (Symphonic Wind Ensemble). 10 Min.
Commissioned and first performed by the New York University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Christian Wilhjelm at the Frederick Loewe Theatre, 35 W. 4th Street, New York on 6th December 2006.
Choral Music:Let Fall the Windows of Mine Eyes (2007-08) (SATB) 7 Min. Commissioned by the Brecon Festival and due for first performance by AVE on July 12th 2008.
Lux Benigna (2007) (SSAAA & Piano) 5 Min. Commissioned by Con Anima Chamber Choir and first performed by them at St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen, November 2007.
The Lord's Prayer (2007) (SATB) 2 Min. Commissioned by AVE first performed by them during their Italian tour 2007; receiving performances in Venice and Bologna.
Between The Mountains and the Sea (2004-05) (SATB & Piano) 4 Min.
Text: Celtic Lament, anon. Commissioned for the Stonehaven Chorus.
And Profoundest Midnight Shroud The Serene Lights of Heaven (2002) (16 Part A-Cappella Choir) 8 Min.
Text: Rilke & Shelley (English). Commissioned by & First performed by York Vocal Index (directed by John Potter) at the Sir Jack Lyons Hall, York, May 2002. Further performance at Canterbury Cathedral by the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and during their tour of Finland, 2003.
A Prayer To Sunrise (2001) (2 Children's Choirs with Piano) 5 Min.
Text: Katherine Tynan. Commissioned & First performed by the massed children's voices of Flintshire County, Northop Hall Church, July 2002. Broadcast on BBC Radio Wales.
Canticum Sacrum (2001) (SATB A-Cappella) 5 Min.
Text: Sanctus (Latin). First performed by St Bride's Choir, St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, London, April 2002 conducted by Robert Jones.
Between Eternity and Time (2008) (Soprano & Piano) 10 min. Commissioned by Irene Drummond (Soprano) and Alasdair Beatson (Piano) with funds provided by the Scottish Arts Council and due for first performance in October 2008 as part of her North Scotland tour.
The Shadows of Dreams (2007) (Soprano, Cello & Piano) 10 min. First performed by Sarah Leonard (Soprano), Ian Mitchell (Clarinet) and Huw Watkins (Piano), Elphinstone Hall, Aberdeen, 20th April 2008.
Between The Mountains and The sea (2004) (SSA) 4 Min. First performed by 'Juice' at the Warehouse, London. Broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Arranged for Alto and Harp, and performed by Laura Morley in Aberdeen, then in Hong Kong and New York.
...of night and the stars... (2002) (Baritone & Piano) 13 Min.
Text: The Talmud, Dante & St John of the Cross (English). First performed by Jeremy Huw Williams and Iwan Llywellyn-Jones, St Asaph Cathedral, September 2002. Broadcast on BBC Radio Wales.
Behold Again The Stars (2001-02) (Baritone & Piano) 8 Min.
Text: Dante (Trans. Vetch). First performed by Jeremy Huw Williams and Harvey Davies, Bangor University, April 2002.
Till Time Shall Cease (2001) (Soprano and Six Instruments) 10 Min.
Text: Plath, Rilke, Rossetti and Lewis. Commissioned by the York Festival & First performed by Sarah Dacey and York New Music Group, Sir Jack Lyons Hall, York, July 2001 conducted by Mathias Werz.
Consequences (2001). 5 Min.
First performed by Rolf Hind, Dartington Hall, August 2001.
An Endless Labyrinth: Four Studies for Piano (1999-2001). 20 Min.
Aurora Lucis Rutilat (2006). 5 Min. Composed for Roger Williams and first performed by him at King's College, Cambridge, February 2007
De Profundis (2005). 12 Min. Commissioned by George Chittenden and first performed by him at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, 6th August 2005.
Chamber & Solo Music:
Solemn Liturgy (2005) (Solo Clarinet). 5 Min.
Commissioned by Ian Mitchell and first performed by him in Aberdeen, February 2006.
Shadows & Silhouettes (2005) (Solo Five-Octave Marimba doubling Bamboo Wind Chimes). 8 Min.
Commissioned by Mika Takehara with funds provided by the Swedish Arts Foundation for premiere in Stockholm in 2006. Subsequent tour of Scandinavia, 2006-07.
The Borders of Time (2004) (Cl/Vln/Cllo/Pno) 25 Min. Commissioned by Scottish Arts and first performed by Gemini in Mitchell Hall, Aberdeen.
Borderlands (2003-04) (Piano Trio) 8 Min. First performed by the Chagall Trio at the University of Manchester, recorded for commercial CD, 'Borderlands' (Campion/ASC Label).
Echo (2002) (Solo Percussionist). 5 Min.
Commissioned by Swedish Arts Festival & First performed by Mika Takehara in Stockholm, Sweden, September 2002. Further performances in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway. Broadcast on Swedish Radio.
String Quartet (2001-02). 13 Min.
Commissioned by the Vale of Glamorgan Festival & First performed by Chamber Domaine, The Museum of Welsh Life, Cardiff, as part of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival, September, 2002.
Elegy for a Play of Shadows (2001) 7 Min.
(Version 1: Cor Anglais Solo with Harp. Version 2: Cor Anglais Solo with Five Instruments). Version 1: First performed by Eamonn O'Dwyer at Sir Jack Lyons Hall, York. Version 2: Commissioned & First performed by the Britten Sinfonia, St Edmund's Theatre, Canterbury, November 2001 conducted by Nicholas Cleobury. Brodcast on Radio London.
Studies for String Quartet (2001). 9 Min.
First performed by the Belcea Quartet, Muncaster Castle, Cumbria, May 2001.
Hidden Arias (2001) (Solo Oboe). 5 Min.
First performed by Melinda Maxwell at Dartington Hall, August 2001. Further performances by Olga Norith in Copenhagen.
Rhapsody On A Theme of Purcell (2001-02). 12 Min.
Commissioned by the Welsh Brass Arts Festival & First Performed by the Brighouse & Rastrick Band, conducted by David Hirst, Parc & Dare Hall, Treorchy, June 2003.
Also: a substantial amount of arrangements and transcriptions for band, including a transcription of Janaceck's 'Sinfonietta'. Also, music for beginner brass players, studies and small ensemble pieces.