Paul is a former cathedral organist, most of whose time is now spent as a professional organ consultant and recitalist.
Paul was Rector Chori and Cathedral Organist at Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire, from 1989 to 2016, having previously been Assistant Organist of Rochester Cathedral, Assistant Director of Music at Tonbridge School and Organ Scholar of New College, Oxford, where he studied with Sir David Lumsden and Professor Nicholas Danby, gaining an MA in Music. He is Conductor of the Nottingham Bach Choir and a diploma Examiner for the Royal College of Organists. He is also Organ Adviser to the dioceses of Southwell & Nottingham and of Lincoln.
Independent Organ Adviser
As an Accredited Member of the Association of Independent Organ Advisers Paul is in great demand throughout the UK and beyond as an organ consultant. New or restored instruments for which he currently has, or has had responsibility can be found in thirteen cathedrals, in universities such as Glasgow, Manchester and Sussex, great churches such as Bridlington Priory and Selby Abbey, schools such as Glenalmond, Repton and Marlborough, concert halls such as Leicester’s De Montfort Hall and a large number of churches of all denominations.
He teaches the organ and trained a stream of organ scholars at Southwell, Rochester and Tonbridge—many of whom have gone on to have distinguished careers. He holds the FRCO and ARCM organ performance diplomas, has been elected an FRSA and has been awarded an Honorary FGCM and an Honorary FRCSM for “distinguished services to Church Music”. Paul was President of the Cathedral Organists Association 1999–2001, is Secretary of the annual Diocesan Organ Advisers’ Conference, has twice been President of the Nottingham & District Society of Organists, and has been a Trustee of the Royal College of Organists, the Nottingham Albert Hall Binns Trust, the East Midlands Choirs Trust and the Percy Whitlock Trust, also having served as Chairman of the RSCM Southwell & Nottinghamshire Area for many years.
Paul is a regular guest choral conductor in the UK and abroad (Europe and USA) for festivals, choral workshops and summer schools, having done much work for the RSCM over the years. As a player he has performed in most of the major venues in the UK, also playing abroad (2005 Brussels Cathedral, 2007 St-Sulpice, Paris; 2008 Norway; 2010 Altenberg, 2013 Weingarten, 2015 Madgeburg, etc), as well as appearing on television and radio. His organ and Southwell Minster Choir recordings have been warmly received in the musical press.
Paul is well known for his writings on the organ (he is a consultant and author for The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians) and for reviews in the international journal Organists’ Review, of which he was Editor from 1992–2005. His published books include historical accounts of the organs of Tonbridge School, Rochester Cathedral, Southwell Cathedral, and, most recently, New College Oxford (Positif Press, Oxford, 2015).
On the 9th of June at Lambeth Palace the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred upon Paul the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship.
The citation read:
For his distinguished service as Rector Chori and Cathedral Organist at Southwell Minster and as one of the UK’s foremost organ consultants.
Paul Hale has given Southwell Minster and the Diocese immense and devoted service over 27 years - an outworking of his own strong faith. In his time the Cathedral’s musical tradition has been developed and enhanced, with generations of choristers, lay clerks and organ scholars benefiting from his expertise in conducting, playing and teaching. He founded the Southwell Minster Choir Association, the Minster Chorale and the Girls’ Choir and established an annual St Cecilia concert. Such is the outstanding level of interest and support for music of the highest quality, which Paul has fostered, that Southwell now has an Annual Music Festival centred in the Minster.
As one of the UK’s foremost organ consultants, Paul has contributed to the installation and renovation of important large instruments in cathedrals and churches and the design of new ones.
Wednesday 6th December
It was a real trip down memory lane when I addressed the Birmingham Organists' Association at their Annual Dinner on December 6th. As a youngster I had joined the BOA back in 1966 and much enjoyed five years attending their activities until Oxford beckoned. In my speech I reminisced about the vibrant Birmingham music scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time when Louis Fremaux galvanised the CBSO, Roy Massey did the same at St Philip's cathedral, and the Birmingham School of Music was reborn and rehoused as the Birmingham Conservatoire (now, indeed, the Royal B.C). Great days in a great city!
Friday 1st December
A recent welcome surprise was to read within a fulsome 'Church Times' overview of the Regent Records catalogue, a warm appraisal by Roderick Dunnett of my Southwell 'English Cathedral Series' solo CD (REGCD 248). After retiring from a cathedral post one does not expect to read reviews of previous recordings, especially such enthusiastic ones. Quite made my week!
Monday 6th November
A great benefit of travelling around the UK advising on organs is the delight of finding oneself somewhere new and beautiful - from November 4-6 it was Grasmere where Anne and I stayed so that I could survey the fine Binns in the parish church. With the beauty of Autumn leaves at its height, a fine church service with a good choir, wonderful playing from Ian Hare, a sturdy Binns organ and a splendid hotel, what more could one possibly wish for?
Saturday 4th November
One delight of having more time in my new-found freedom from cathedral life is the opportunity once more to work up song accompaniments. I have always loved the English song repertoire in particular, so it was a delight to perform with my good friend and fine baritone Stephen Cooper at Peter's Nottingham on 4th November. The well-crafted songs of Eric Thiman, four of which we selected, proved a real joy to learn and perform.