Paul Henley

".....it was very compelling, often beautiful music."​​​​​
                   (Angela Goodall, 'Words and Music') 
"Generous melodies and tangy harmonies combine with a striking rhythmic ingenuity to create works loaded with infectious energy....."
                              (Duncan Honeybourne, Pianist and Lecturer)


Paul Henley is from Worcester and is now based in south Shropshire near Ludlow. He trained at Birmingham School of Music (Birmingham Conservatoire) where he studied Composition with Andrew Downes together with Singing, Piano and Trumpet. He graduated with Honours in 1983 and also that year was co – winner of the Birmingham and Midland Institute Prize for Composition.  The earlier part of his career was more  as a freelance singer and he is widely experienced in Opera, Concert and Recital work. Some of the opera companies he has sung with include Mid Wales Opera, Pavilion Opera, Surrey Opera, Lyon Opera and London Opera Players. As a singing teacher his appointments have included Mountview Theatre School, East 15 Acting School and Dauntsey’s School. As a singer Paul was regularly involved with the performance of contemporary music including the Song Cycle Casterbridge Fair  by his composition teacher, Andrew Downes, the role of Sir Gromer Somer Jour/Ballad Singer in the first London Performance of Richard Blackford's opera Gawain and Ragnell and with Wide Angle Voice Theatre in 1997 he created the role of William Byrd in the world premier of the opera False Relations by David Stoll and subsequently went on tour with this production. Paul began composing in his teens. His output includes three Cello Sonatas, written for his wife Ruth, and all premiered by her, two Piano Sonatas and two Piano Concertos. Though writing primarily in the contemporary classical genre, Paul also writes in a theatre style and this includes the Christmas Musical, Bethlehem Junction. The traditional foundations of music – melody, harmony, rhythm and form are important to Paul who believes that without such foundations music, like anything else, is either anarchic or merely an intellectual exercise. It is also important to Paul that composers find their individual voice. He believes that music has the capacity to reach people in a special way and that it is a privilege as a composer to be part of that. His stage work, Bethlehem Junction was given three performances in Shrewsbury in December 2014. In March 2015, his work Brio for string quartet received its first performance at The Gateway Arts Centre in Shrewsbury followed by a second performance at Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire, later that year in July. His Sonata No.3 and Voice, both for Cello and Piano received their World Premiers on 3rd March last year, and were performed several times on tour after that. Elegy was premiered by The Forum String Quartet in Birmingham last June as part of the Bournville Lunchtime Concert Series. Recent works include the Theme and Variations for Clarinet Trio, String Quartet No.1, Turbulence ​for String Orchestra, a Cor Anglais Sonata and Maiestas et Mysterium, a song cycle for Soprano and Piano. In January of this year, Paul was interviewed on BBC Radio Shropshire. His Prelude for orchestra was shortlisted for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's Composers' Day 2017 with Mark - Anthony Turnage, who highly commended the work. He is a member of the Central  Composers’ Alliance. At present, Paul is working on an orchestral tone poem entitled Constellations - this is to be performed in autumn of next year by the Bridgnorth Sinfonia.

                                       ~ Paul is presently accepting commissions for new works ~