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.
During the last year 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.
Last season’s highlights included: leading the ‘Singing Brussels’ massed choir project with BOZAR in Brussels; touring his new album and concert programme titled ‘Reflections’; a series of concerts and workshops at the VOCES8 Centre in the City of London; leading his family concert ‘The Winter House’ programme with the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia; conducting the Orchestra of Avignon in a series of concerts for families and young people; conducting the Orchestre D’Auvergne in a new concert for students; leading the Israeli Vocal Ensemble for a series of concerts in Israel; leading a series of concerts across France with VOCES8 and Apollo5, supported by Vivendi, and concerts and workshops in Germany, the USA, New Zealand and Japan. He also continued his work at the University of Cambridge.
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. Recently published commissions include a new setting of the Nunc Dimittis and the Edo Lullaby on the VOCES8 Singles range. His larger scale work for SATB choir, SATB soli, piano and timpani, ‘A New World’ was premiered in 2018 at La Folle Journée, and in the US in September 2018. ‘Dunelm Lux Aeterna’, a work in seven movements for SATB divisi choir, organ, piano, timpani, tubular bells and electric guitar, was premiered in Durham Cathedral in 2019. Paul’s music is published by Edition Peters.
Since its inception in 2007 the VOCES8 Foundation has worked with 400,000 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 25 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 entereed the top 10 in the UK Specialist Classical Charts, and includes performances by VOCES8, Apollo5, Clare Stewart, Neil Valentine, the VOCES8 Scholars and 2,500 singers.
Paul is delighted to be an ambassador for Edition Peters, as well as a board member of the 21st Century Musician programme at DePauw University, Indiana. He is hugely grateful for the support from Arts Council England and Vivendi.