BIOGRAPHY

Paul Leddington Wright's musical career began while still at school when, at the age of 15, he was appointed conductor of the Maidenhead Schools' Orchestra, and organist and choirmaster of his local church. He undertook the first of many organ recital tours of the USA at 17 and went on to become organ scholar at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he studied with Sir David Willcocks, Peter Le Huray and Alan Ridout. Graduating from Cambridge he freelanced for some years, mainly in professional theatre, and musically directed the first UK tour of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'. In 1982 he was appointed Musical Director for the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs, consolidating the work of the MAYC Singers and Orchestra which he had founded during the 1970's.

Paul was appointed Organist and Director of Music at Coventry Cathedral in 1984, a position he held for over a decade. During this period the Cathedral Choir, under Paul's direction, broadcasted frequently and recorded several cd's; international tours included numerous trips to the USA, Jamaica, and one to Italy, where the choir performed for Pope John Paul II. He directed the music for many important occasions at the Cathedral, including the Queen's visit to Coventry for the distribution of the Royal Maundy in 1995.

 

From the podium, Paul has conducted a vast repertoire of choral literature at home and abroad and has been conductor of the Saint Michael's Singers (the Cathedral's Choral Society) since 1984. With them he has made over 25 recordings, some of which form a large part of the Kingsway 'Hymnmakers' series. 

 

In 1995 Paul relinquished his full-time post at Coventry in order to make space for an increasing schedule of work at the BBC. A prolific arranger for the weekly BBC TV programme Songs of Praise, he is also well known as the principal conductor for the series and, since 1986, has conducted programmes from cathedrals, churches and concert halls worldwide, including numerous broadcasts of The Big Sing, from London's Royal Albert Hall. A special Millennium celebration broadcast in 2000 saw him lead a congregation some 65,000 strong at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium. Paul is also involved with BBC Radio and regularly conducts for the Radio 4 Daily Service and the Sunday Morning Worship.

 

Between 1991 and 2011, Paul served as Artistic Director of the annual International Church Music Festival, whose 26 festivals have been held variously in Coventry, Chester, Bern and Oberammergau. The 2009 25th anniversary festival in Rome saw the combined choirs of ten countries representing five continents perform an excerpt from Puccini's Messa di Gloria at the Papal audience for Pope Benedict XVI, again under Paul's directorship. 

In recent years Paul has made a return to the theatre, working with Stagecoach Theatre Arts as Musical Director for productions of Oliver!, My Fair Lady and The Secret Garden. In 2013, with massed forces at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, he conducted a gala production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Cats', to celebrate 25 years of Stagecoach.

 

Since 2009, in his capacity as Secretary of the Royal Almonry, Paul has overseen the organisation of the annual Royal Maundy distribution for The Queen. His choral music is published by Oxford University Press, and in the USA by HinshawShawnee PressHope Publishing and Hal Leonard, and includes many commissions from churches in the UK and USA.

© 2017 Paul Leddington Wright

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