Paul Smith is an innovative and creative performer, conductor, composer, an inspirational educator and an empowering public speaker. As co-founder of VOCES8, author of The VOCES8 Method and CEO of the VOCES8 Foundation, his annual programme sees him working globally in prestigious concert venues, festivals, schools and universities.
Paul is passionate about the impact singing and the arts can have in the widest possible context – from academic improvement to social skills and building more cohesive communities. He uses that passion to design and deliver unique, inclusive and uplifting performance projects. Collaboration is a key word to describe Paul’s approach to music making, and in 2022–23 Paul is thrilled to be working with artists including Paul Simon, Eric Whitacre, percussionist/composer Teena Lyle, stage designer Julia Hansen (Glyndebourne, Santa Fe Opera) and opera director Anisha Bondy (Komische Oper Berlin).
During the last three years Paul has led the VOCES8 Foundation in two major online initiatives. The online LIVE From London festivals set a benchmark for artistic collaboration and provided performers, composers and arts organisations from around the world with a focus during a time of great upheaval. Paul was himself a performer in the festival as well as having his compositions premiered. The VOCES8 Digital Academy was also launched in 2020, giving the opportunity for choirs and individuals to learn choral works online with VOCES8 and Paul, and to have live sessions. This proved especially valuable whilst students were having to learn both at home and at their educational establishment.
Season highlights for 2022-23 include: leading the ‘Sing’In’ massed choir projects across France, including in the Philharmonie in Paris; performances of works from his new album titled ‘Renewal?’ at the Kaufman Centre, New York and King’s Place, London; a new ‘Happening’ interactive experience for family concerts designed for the Philharmonie in Luxembourg; performances of his family concert ‘The Winter House’ programme with the Orchestra D’Auvergne in a series of concerts for families and young people; leading projects with VOCES8 and Apollo5 across the US through the VOCES8 US Foundation, and concerts and workshops in Germany, the USA, Vietnam and elsewhere.
The VOCES8 Method, written by Paul, is published by Edition Peters in four languages, and is now being used in thousands of schools in numerous countries around the world. The Method is designed to link specific music-making activities with academic improvement in numeracy, literacy and linguistics.
As a composer, Paul writes regularly for vocal groups, choirs, orchestras and soloists. Publications in 2022-23 include ‘Distant Earth Renewal’, ‘Alone’ and ‘Darkness’. Other recently published commissions include a new setting of the ‘Nunc Dimittis’ and the ‘Edo Lullaby’ on the VOCES8 Singles range. Paul’s music is published by Edition Peters. Commissions for 2022-23 include a new work for Apollo5 entitled ‘Heaven-Haven’ and a new setting of the ‘Magnificat’ for VOCES8.
Since its inception in 2007 the VOCES8 Foundation has worked with 500,000 young people. Projects have included massed singing performances at the Royal Opera House (London), Cité de la Musique(Paris) and La Folle Journée (Nantes); and with “singing city” projects in cities such as Torino, Wroclaw, Lyon, Hannover, Houston, Albuquerque, Dallas/Fort Worth, Bermuda, Nairobi, Lagos, Dubai, Tokyo, and Taipei. Working in partnership with the Diocese of London, Paul has spearheaded the creation of a home for the VOCES8 Foundation at the VOCES8 Centre, a centre of excellence in vocal music performance, education and outreach in the heart of the City of London.
As an educator and public speaker, Paul has given speeches and created sessions on music and leadership, teamwork, music and creativity, health and wellbeing, and The VOCES8 Method. He presented a TEDx talk entitled “How can we use music to help us learn?”. Engagements at international conferences include the ACDA National conventions; Europa Cantat; the London Music Education Expo; Chor.com; the World Symposium of Singing at the Liszt Music Academy; the World Symposium of Choral Music and at the Royal College of Music in London.
Paul has been singing for nearly 30 years, first as a boy chorister with the choir of Westminster Abbey, and, since 2005 with VOCES8. As a recording artist with Decca Classics, Paul has featured on best-selling, chart-topping albums and won a host of international awards. His first album as a solo artist, Reflections, was released in 2019 and entered the top 10 in the UK Specialist Classical Charts. His 2022 album, ‘Renewal?’ has received wide critical acclaim.