Thursday, 12th September - 7.00 pm : Holy Rood Church, Swindon
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. From 1990 to 2019 he was Conductor of the Nottingham Bach Choir. Paul is a diploma Examiner for the Royal College of Organists, and 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 14th August
Anne and I have just returned from five nights in Riga, Latvia, a city beautifully restored since Latvia regained independence from Russia in 1991. It was a pleasure to be playing five organ solos in two concerts given by the excellent choir of St Peter's church, Nottingham, under the genial guidance of Dr Peter Siepmann. The most memorable moments were on Sunday in Riga Dom, playing its monster 124-stop Walcker, complete with original 1880s console. A real challenge, but so worthwhile as the organ sounds utterly wonderful. Definitely one to remember.
Tuesday 6th August
The Arts Society, Trent Valley branch, visited beautiful Sledmere House in the East Riding of Yorkshire today. The house boasts a large Binns, Fitton & Haley (rebuilt and enlarged by Principal Pipe Organs) in the attic, speaking down boldly into the entrance hall and played by a three-manual stop-key console. I had great fun entertaining our friends in the group, whose monthly lectures Anne and I attend with enormous pleasure.
Tuesday 23rd July
It's been a busy few days, during which I took part in a celebratory concert at Southwell Minster, to mark thirty years since I founded the Southwell Minster Choir Association and to relaunch the Southwell Minster Old Choristers' Association. On Monday 22nd Simon Hogan conducted his final Evensong before leaving the Minster after seven years of stunning playing, following which the Minster Chorale and guests enjoyed a wonderful barbecue in the grounds of Sacrista Prebend (formerly the Choristers' boarding house). As if that wasn't enough, our dear friend Murray Somerville gave a splendid recital on the Selby Abbey organ today, followed by a most convivial buffet lunch. The summer has started well!