At a glance
Performance & Vocal Coach, Tenor
Paul Phoenix is truly a talented, unique man that can instantly make a room come alive with his positive energy. His insight and engaging spirit is infectious and he can absolutely change an ensemble from singers to performers extraordinaire!Cantilena Chorale, Arizona, USA
Grammy Award-winning singer Paul Phoenix has extensive knowledge and experience in a variety of vocal styles and numerous languages. As an experienced vocal coach he has a particular interest in young and developing voices, in presentation, interview and audition technique.
“Paul is a brilliant musician and communicator”
“You do have an exceptional skill in working with choirs and with people”
“The solos performed were spectacular! Paul Phoenix in particular!”
“The work you do is such an asset to our students, our craft, and our world! You change lives by just being you, and that is so rare.”
Grammy Award-winning singer Paul Phoenix has extensive knowledge and experience in a variety of vocal styles and numerous languages. As an experienced vocal coach he has a particular interest in young and developing voices, in presentation, interview and audition technique. His skills as a mentor and in community engagement are exceptional.
After 17 years and nearly 2000 concerts performing, mentoring and coaching as tenor in one of the world’s most celebrated vocal ensembles, The King’s Singers, 2014 marked Paul Phoenix’ ‘retirement’ from The King’s Singers and the launch of a new phase: ‘Purple Vocals – Perform & Engage’. It is important to Paul to pass on the many skills he learned not only as a King’s Singer, but as a performer with 40 years of experience – from St. Paul’s Cathedral Chorister to award-winning soloist.
Purple Vocals is both an online and personal consultancy, coaching choirs, ensembles and individuals in a range of skills, including presentation, vocal technique and professional development. Paul gives regular coaching to conductors, ensembles and individuals on performance and presentation, including King’s College at the University of Cambridge, and King’s College London. (As Patron of and advisor to ‘All the King’s Men’, an award winning collegiate A Cappella ensemble). Purple Vocals is a growing international consultancy, including but not limited to China (as guest of INTERKULTUR and China Conservatory of Music, Beijing), the Netherlands (Utrecht Music Conservatorium) and Switzerland (Künstlerhaus Boswil).
Paul Phoenix also sings as a guest soloist and has extensive knowledge and experience in a variety of vocal styles and numerous languages. The last few months have seen Paul singing in several countries, among them Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Colombia the USA and China.
Paul’s long career in the music business began when he became a Chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. He sang in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee service in 1977 and as the best-known boy soloist of his generation he recorded the Ivor Novello award-winning theme Nunc Dimittis by Geoffrey Burgon in the BBC adaptation of John Le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 1979, for which he was later awarded a gold disc.
Paul’s musical education continued at the Royal Northern College of Music, in Manchester, England, between 1986 and 1991 where he studied voice and academic studies, spending his spare time singing in various styles and guises – as a member of Manchester Cathedral Choir, fronting a Big Band as well as recording with a Dutch group called ‘Janus’. “In a way, it prepared me for the musical versatility of what was to lie ahead,” says Paul, who stresses that his freelance career was well underway by the time he graduated. There followed a six-year period during which he continued to diversify, singing as a soloist in oratorio, taking part in pop and classical sessions, coaching the choristers of Westminster Under School and performing with the Monteverdi Choir.
In 1997, Paul successfully auditioned for The King’s Singers. Averaging more than 120 concerts annually, he sang in many of the world’s greatest concert halls, from Sydney Opera House to New York’s Carnegie Hall, and travelled as far as Chile and New Zealand, Russia, China and South Africa, with too many places to mention in between! As well as a packed concert schedule, King’s Singers recordings were released to critical acclaim. Paul was co-producer on the 2009 Grammy-winning album, Simple Gifts, and performed on the 2011 Grammy-winning recording, Light and Gold, featuring works by the American composer Eric Whitacre. In 2013, The King’s Singers were voted into the Gramophone Magazine Hall of Fame.
2014 marked Paul’s last concert with The King’s Singers and the launch of PurpleVocals: Perform and Engage, his coaching and engagement consultancy. “It’s important to me to pass on the many skills I have learned in 17 years as a King’s Singer”, explains Paul. “My singing career continues as a guest soloist, but I also want to concentrate on educating, mentoring, lecturing, speaking and coaching. I feel uniquely placed to offer new perspectives and advice on the career development of young musicians, as well as coaching choirs, ensembles and their conductors and speaking about the art of audience engagement”.
Paul’s PurpleVocals work takes him around the world, with recent visits to Colombia playing Aristeo in a new production of Orfeo with the renowned ensemble L’Arpeggiata, to China coaching and speaking in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Shenyang, the USA coaching and performing the role of Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion under the direction of Craig Jessop, with the American Festival Chorus, and as guest coach with the Philadelphia Boys Choir, as well as across the UK and Europe.
This season Paul’s varied work sees him coaching and performing in Germany as guest soloist with the WDR Orchestra in the Köln Philharmonie, and working in Finland, Italy, Iceland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, China and the USA.
Paul lives in Cambridge, England with his wife, Helena and two sons, William and Edward. When not singing he tries to avert another mid-life crisis by riding ridiculous distances on his mountain bike in aid of a friend’s charity!
“You are most gracious! Thank you Paul Phoenix for sharing your musical insights, words of wisdom and love for choral music with us. It was quite inspirational on many levels and we appreciate how you have positively affected our spiritual and musical lives. So few musicians truly appreciate the connection between the two, such a blessing that you do and can share it with others. Hope the rest of your American journey goes smoothly… please know that you will always have a home with your mates in TN!”Stacey Wilner, Coordinator of Choral Music, Maryville College, Tennessee, USA
“It was just a fantastic experience to work with you in Boswil, and my whole choir is still enthusiastic about the three days spent together. Therefore it is a great joy to hear, that you are willing to work again with Marco’s and my choir next year……I really look forward to working again with you and to learn from your enormous singing and stage experience.”Claudio Danuser, Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund, Direction Kultur und Soziales, Zurich, Switzerland.
“Oh, my, what a wonderful way to start my day! You do have an exceptional skill in working with choirs and with people. All of the students were pretty enraptured with you, your energy, and professionalism. We are a small community in the Piney Woods of East Texas and what you and your fellow musicians brought to our area last evening was truly a memorable experience. I think this was evident by the throng that bombarded you after the concert! … Without doubt you are bowing out on top and your hard work and reputation will follow you into and through your new career path. I hope we will again have time…more time…to share music together."Tim King, DMA, Director of Choral Activities, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, USA
“Paul is a brilliant musician and communicator who endeavors to enabling institutions and organizations to build upon each other’s individual strengths. His focus on taking responsibility to support one another and for professionals give back to the community will impact the future in a very positive way. I have found Paul to be extremely approachable and personable to work with in any situation. An absolute joy through our collaborative work.”Jami Lupold, Music Specialist, Texas, USA
“THANK YOU! The work you do is such an asset to our students, our craft, and our world! You change lives by just being you, and that is so rare. I’m so lucky to have been a part of this inspirational movement, because that’s what you’re creating-a movement. I’ll do whatever I can to keep that going. We already miss you here in icy Tennessee and can’t wait to have you back!!!”Ashley Abbott, Choral Assistant and Fine Arts Recruiter, Tennessee, USA
"Paul Phoenix, this was an honor and truly something I never, in my wildest dreams, could ever have dreamed of. Singing one of my all time favorite songs standing next to one of my all time favorite performers is something that to me is out of this world. I sincerely hope that you will return to Iceland one day to give us an opportunity to enjoy your coaching. Thanks!" #singingnexttoPaul #stillcantbelieveitÓmar Karl Jóhannesson, Spectrum Vocal Ensemble, Iceland
Selected Discography —
I was surprised by quite how much I enjoyed this disc!
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- Robin Tyson