Paul Mitchell-Davidson

Composer • Educator • Arranger • Musician


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Summary

Paul Mitchell-Davidson FHEA, is a composer of contemporary classical music whose compositions cover most genre's of music including symphonic, choral, chamber music and Jazz. He works in the fields of media, theatre, education and in the community, was a lecturer in Music Composition at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (Composer-in-Residence at LIPA), and is a member of the PRS, PPL and MCPS.

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Background

Paul has a well-established reputation as a composer of contemporary classical music, often for unusual combinations of instruments such as Tapestry (see in list of compositions) for harp and mandolin and Gaia for extended saxophone quartet and computer sequenced tape. Paul's compositions cover most genre's of music including symphonic, choral, chamber music and Jazz, and he works in the fields of media, theatre, education( as past PRS Composer in Education recipient) and in the community. A lecturer in music composition at degree level, he has also lectured or taught at Salford University and various colleges.

In 1995 a concert was held for him at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in celebration of his music. It comprised thirty-two musicians, forty singers and three conductors. Included were the Apollo Saxophone Quartet and the Royal Northern College of Music Big Band. An interview about the concert was conducted with Paul on Radio 3.

Paul has been since 1986 the Composer in Residence at the annual Standish Festival. For many years he was the Composer in Residence at the Library Theatre in Manchester. In 1999 he formed the Manchester Guitar Orchestra for the Halle Concerts Society Education department, and their first performance was at the Bridgewater Hall. He is a past member of the music advisory panel for NWAA. A past Bafta Judge for music section awards and a past judge for the festival for British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles. He has held many workshops and masterclasses in and around the north west.

Compositions

  • 1978 AWAY MELANCHOLY - Five songs based on settings of Stevie Smith poems. For counter tenor ( Owen Wynne) and guitar. Revised version in 1996. Comprising: Away Melancholy/ Cool and Plain/ I was so Full/ The Broken Heart/ Not Waving but Drowning.
  • 1979 SOUNDSCAPE - Inspired by the work of North West Artist Colin Johnson, and performed at two major retrospective exhibitions at Salford and Oldham art galleries. Funded by North West Arts Board. For flute, oboe, harpsichord/piano, guitar/mandolin.
  • 1980 STEAM - Commissioned by the GMC to form part of the Great Railway Exposition celebrations, to mark the 150th anniversary of the LM Railways. For flute, oboe, piano, guitar/mandolin and speaker.
  • 1980 OUT OF MY HEAD - A jazz guitar album, eleven tracks including, Jump for Joy, Waltz for Harry Palmer, Fiesta, and Stay Out!
  • 1981 SONATA FOR SOLO GUITAR - A large scale solo guitar work premiered by Neil Smith at the Purcell Room, London.
  • 1982 ESSAY ON THE NAME CHARLIE 'BIRD' PARKER(*) - Composed for the English Saxophone Quartet. Premiered at the Royal Northern College of Music.
  • 1984 THE LION AND THE DRAGON - A suite for jazz orchestra, tape, voice and Chinese zither. Performed by Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, with my music and lyrics. Based on impressions of a visit to Hong Kong. Fully recorded.
  • 1985 A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL - A contemporary jazz piece for eleven musicians and narrator, in seven movements. Prologue - 'Stevie,'/ Suburb/ The Galloping Cat/ Not Waving but Drowning/ Pretty/ The Dedicated Dancing Bull and the Water Maid/ O Grateful Colours Bright Looks. Duration 45 minutes. First performance at the Mill at the Pier, Wigan. Narrated by Stevie Smith's executor, the late James MacGibbon. Directed by myself. Funded by A.C.G.B. Bursary and Musicians' Union. This work has been lodged with the Library of Congress, US.
  • 1986 ORIANA - Commissioned by the Oriana Choir. Texts by Elizabethan poets and John Bennet's 'Triumph of Oriana'. For choir and orchestra.
  • 1987 TURNPIKE SONATA - Commissioned by Wigan MBC to launch a chamber music series, at the Turnpike Centre, Leigh. For flute, oboe, piano/mandolin.
  • 1989 PLANTAGENET VARIATIONS - Commissioned by the Orchestra of the Mill. Premiered at the Standish Arts Festival. For chamber orchestra.
  • 1990 EARTHSONGS - Commissioned by Bury MBC. For solo jazz saxophone, chamber orchestra, small choir and rhythm section.
  • 1990 SONGBOOK - Commissioned by the guitarist Neil Smith. For solo guitar.
  • 1990 A SMALL DREAM OF A DANCE(*) - Commissioned by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet. An African inspired piece. Originally released on the ASQ Album 'Bow Out' and re-released on 'Hot Lipped' by the Kintamarni Saxophone Quartet. For saxophone quartet and percussion.
  • 1990 AFRICANA - A concerto for two marimbas. This was broadcast on Granada Television.
  • 1991 CHIONI - Commissioned by Live Music Now, and premiered at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. For oboe trio.
  • 1991 SCENES FROM A CARNIVAL - Commissioned by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet. Premiered at the Royal Northern College of Music. For saxophone quartet and tape.
  • 1991 ALL ABOUT LIONS - One continuous movement, based on poems of Stevie Smith. Commissioned by Manchester Cathedral. Performed by the Manchester Cathedral Cantata Choir, and the Ever-Ready Brass Band. The premiere at Manchester Cathedral was conducted by Stuart Beer.
  • 1991 GAIA - Commissioned by the Manchester Craft Centre. For saxophone quartet and tape. Composed with the acoustical and architectural qualities of the venue in mind.
  • 1992 THE BESTIARY - A four movement suite for jazz orchestra. This was performed in its entirety at my concert at the Royal Northern College of Music. The second movement, 'The Snake' was the winner of the BBC Marty Paich Award in 1993, and was subsequently broadcast on BBC radio.
  • 1993 A CHORUS OF INNER VOICES - Commissioned by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet and premiered in Tokyo on their tour of Japan. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. It was inspired by three traditional Japanese poems.
  • 1994 FANFARE - ALL LIT UP!(*) - Commissioned by the Manchester Craft Centre, for their switching on of the newly installed lighting system. Broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
  • 1994 TAPESTRY - A large scale virtuoso work composed for the harpist Lauren Scott and mandolin player Alison Stephens. In four movements. Based on the book 'The Saxon Tapestry' by Sile Rice. The movement 'A Full Moon Rising Red' received good reviews in the Classical Guitar Magazine in 2004. 'Tapestry' was released on the Black Box label in 2004.
  • 1994 THRENODY SONG FOR SARAJEVO - A composition written at the height of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. It was performed at my RNCM concert. Originally commissioned by the Hildegarde Ensemble. For violin, piano, clarinet, guitar and percussion.
  • 1995 A CONCERT FOR PAUL - This concert, in celebration of my music, was held at the Royal Northern College of Music. It comprised thirty-two musicians, forty singers and three conductors, as well as the Royal Northern College of Music big band. An interview about the concert was conducted at the BBC Radio 3 studio, for the 'In Tune' programme.
  • 1995 SOLILOQUY FOR TIM(*) (An Urban Dream) - Composed for Tim Redpath. For solo saxophone.
  • 1996 THE BIG EASY(*) (Echoes of New Orleans) - Composed for Big Band.
  • 1997 A CHORUS OF INNER VOICES II - Commissioned by the Tubalate Quartet and performed live on BBC Radio 3.
  • 1998 TOWARDS THE RISING SUN - Commissioned by Manchester City Council and premiered at the Bridgewater Hall as part of the BASBWE concert. For wind band.
  • 1998 TUBAFICATION - Composed for Tubalate. This became the test piece for the 2002 International Federation of Tubists' Congress in the USA.
  • 1999 RHAPSODY FOR DUKE (Duke Ellington) - Commissioned by the members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
  • 1999 RHAPSODY FOR FRANK (Frank Zappa) - Composed for the Halle's Manchester Guitar Orchestra.
  • 1999 BEYOND THE RAINBOW'S END - Composed for the Halle's Manchester Guitar Orchestra.
  • 1999 NIGHT TRIPPER - Commissioned by the Burnley Jazz Summer School for their contemporary jazz project.
  • 1999 LET'S GET IT ON - Commissioned to transcribe fourteen bars of a Lalo Schifrin album. This was for the brass section of the tune 'Let's Get it On' for Red Venom. This was featured on the soundtrack of the movie 'Miss Congeniality.' I also arranged the brass section for the hit single 'Shake Ya Body' for N-Trance.
  • 2000 SHOUTING ON SWAN STREET - Commissioned by the Band on the Wall performance centre in Manchester. An hour-long piece for jazz orchestra, off-stage band and gospel choir. This was to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Band on the Wall. It was premiered at the Band on the Wall and subsequently performed at the Halle's Bridgewater Hall.
  • 2001 KINTAMARNI - Commissioned by the Kintamarni Saxophone Quartet. This piece was loosely based on Gamelan. It was first performed at the RNCM. It was sponsored by the North West Arts Board.
  • 2001 JUEGO DE PASION - Commissioned by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet. This piece was performed on their UK tour. The piece itself was an homage to Astor Piazolla.
  • 2001 LOUISIANA - A concerto for saxophone quartet and virtual ensemble.
  • 2002 DOVESTONE - A concerto for mandolin and strings. Composed for the virtuoso mandolin player Alison Stephens. Inspired by Dovestones in Saddleworth.
  • 2002 SCIENCE AND NATURE - A re-composition for brass band. This was for the American video installation artist, Kirstin Lucas. It was contained on the CD 'Celebrations for Breaking Routine.' It was funded by British Telecom, Arts & Business, and the Arts Council of England.
  • 2003 RAINSONG - A concerto for guitar and orchestra. Composed for the international concert guitarist Craig Ogden. Also six virtuoso arrangements of jazz standards for classical guitar. 2003 THREADS - composed for Stockport Grammar School. Subsequently performed at the Royal Northern College of Music.
  • 2006 DANSE A LA MOUCHE - Compositions based on traditional seychelloise sega music, on CD. For Trumpet/flugelhorn, soprano/alto saxophones, tenor saxophone, trombone, percussion and violin, and myself playing electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, banjo, mandolin and accordion. Comprising, Kreol Karnival, Souvenir de Mahe, Danse a la Mouche, Un Petit Reve d'un Dance, Sunset Beach, Takamaka Strut, Misty Mountain.
  • LULLABY FOR STANLEY(*) - Composed for the newborn son of harpist Lauren Scott, and saxophonist Andy Scott. A piece for tenor saxophone and harp. Featured on Saxophonist Andy Scott's album, 'My Mountain Top.'
  • 2006 PARA BAILAR TANGO SE NECESITAN DOS(*) - For tenor saxophone and piano. Commissioned by saxophonist Andy Scott.
  • 2006 1) LARUS 2) UBERBOP 3) PHAT MONKEY - For jazz sextet.
  • 2007 SAUDADE - Album of guitar pieces, inspired by Portuguese fado, Brazilian choros and samba. Choros: Triste e Sentimental, Larus (for Ruth), Sambinha, A Noite, Samba Alegre, Minha Cancao Triste, Brisa Morna, Saudade, Choros: Ingenuo e Romantico, Albufeira, Sonhar. Myself also playing electric, acoustic, classical and bass guitar.
  • 2008 DEZ CHOROS PARA TRES VIOLOES - Ten choros for three guitars. Danca de Manha, Ingenuo e Romantico, Sol e Vinho, Oriental e Occidental, Repeticao, Nostalgias, Triste e Sentimental, Perpetuo Movimento, Chorina, Romantico e Apaixonado.
  • 2009 EL LIBRO DE PARAJOS - (Raptor, Larus, Bird of Paradise, Firebird). A large scale work of 45 minutes duration. For jazz orchestra plus woodwind, strings and choir. This work was commissioned by the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya (ESMUC). Also arrangements by me of music by Herbie Hancock and John McGloughlin. Words by Ruth Mitchell-Davidson. The premiere was held at L'Auditori in Barcelona. I played the guitar, and the featured soloists were the Concertante Group - violin, viola, flugel horn and tenor saxophone. Words to El Libra de Parajos written by Ruth H. Mitchell-Davidson.
  • 2009 Completed the orchestral arrangement of 'Dark Rain' a double saxophone concerto by the composer Andy Scott.
  • 2010 ONE SMALL STEP - A three movement piece to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the moon landing. For tuba, French horn, piano, guitar and vibraphone. Premiered at Cine Teatro, in the town of Alcobaca, Portugal.
  • 2010 Six graded pieces for mandolin. Doce e Triste, Romanza, Snakes and Ladders, Starlight, Different Strokes, Lullaby. To be published as part of a mixed composer book, at Astute Music.
  • 2013 Commission, A Garland of Dances, for the Ludlow Concert Band.
Pieces marked * are available at Astute Music.

Educator

  • 1982-1984 Musical Director and Arranger for Labour rallies at Leeds and Islington. Arranger and Musical Director for the recording ' Meet the Challenge, Make the Change.' Arranger for the operatic music section for the general election campaign at Sheffield. Past general adviser on music matters for Arts for Labour. Member of the Musicians' Union National Executive Committee for four years.
  • 1985-1993 Held the first ever position of Jazz Animateur in Music Education, then Musician in Residence for Jazz Development at the Music Education Department, for the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan.
  • 1989 Delegate to the International Federation of Musicians' congress.
  • 1986-2006 Composer in Residence at the annual Standish Arts Festival.
  • 1992 Judge for the bands at the festival for the British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles. BASBWE.
  • 1993 Formed the Manchester Guitar Orchestra for the Halle Concerts Society Education Department. This bought together guitarists of all levels to meet and rehearse, and then perform the pieces I had composed and arranged for them. The first performance was held at the Bridgewater Hall.
  • 1995 Hired to give Jason Orange, of Take That, a number of guitar lessons.
  • 1996 A BAFTA judge for the - Music for Television section.
  • 1994-1997 Part-time lecturer in music composition at Wigan & Leigh College. Part-time lecturer in music at Salford University. Part-time lecturer in music at Bury College. Past member of the music advisory panel for NWAA. Past member and ex-chair of Jazz North West. Past co-ordinator of the Wigan Jazz Festival.
  • 2000-2009 Lecturer in Music Composition at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. LIPA. Designed and wrote the music composition module for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students. Was awarded the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. FHEA
  • 2009 Part-time guitar teacher at an International School, in Portugal.
  • November 2013, Masterclass at LIPA

Arranging

  • 1984-1993 Orchestration of 'Merrily we Roll Along' by Stephen Sondheim, for the European Premiere at the Library Theatre, Manchester.
  • Orchestration of 'Follies' by Stephen Sondheim for the European Premiere at the Library Theatre, Manchester. Composed the original music for 'A Christmas Carol' for the Library Theatre, Manchester.
  • Composed the incidental music for 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller, and also for 'Julius Caesar' at the Library Theatre, Manchester.
  • Composed the original score for 'The Golden Ass' by Apuleus, which was performed at the Edinburgh Festival. The orchestration for 'Baby' by David Shire and Richard Maltby Junior, for the European Premiere and then national tour.
  • The orchestration of 'Company' by Stephen Sondheim for the Northcott Theatre, Exeter.
  • The orchestration of 'Carousel' by Rodgers and Hammerstein for The Haymarket, Leicester.
  • Arrangements of thirteen songs arranged for Manchester songwriter, Mike Shirley.
  • 1993 - Prepared the CD of 'One Hundred Years of Music Making' for the centenary of the Musicians' Union.
  • 1995 - The orchestration of 'I Was Sitting' with Paul Lawler, for the BBC Philharmonic educational programme, 'Remembering Eden.'
  • 2006 - The orchestration for 'Follies' for the Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton.

Musician

  • 1963 - to the present day.
  • Played jazz with the Terry Thompson Quartet; played guitar and bass guitar with the Val Merral Band; played opposite Little Richard, the Everly Brothers and Roger Miller; took up residency in London club and worked with Al Hibbler, Joy Marshal and Freddie Morgan.
  • Played bass guitar with the Al Wood Band in Portsmouth.
  • Performed on the first ever BBC 'Come Dancing' programme to be broadcast in colour.
  • Worked with Brian Edwards Band in Manchester on guitar, bass guitar and as band arranger.
  • Joined jazz/rock band 'Monad' and featured on BBC Jazz Club broadcast.
  • Joined the Maynard Ferguson Band and toured the USA and Canada, on the same bill as Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie and Weather Report. Worked with Billie Eckstein. Toured Australia with Frank Ifield. Formed fusion band 'Work in Progress.' Played solo bass guitar with the Scottish National orchestra in Penderecki's Partita for Harpsichord and Orchestra. Began long association with Piccadilly Radio in Manchester. This included playing on recording sessions, being musical director and arranger.
  • Formed the virtuoso guitar trio 'Paws for Thought' whose repertoire consisted of original compositions and transcriptions. The debut concert was held at the Royal Northern College of Music.
  • Joined Atarah's Band, which was led by the flautist Atarah Ben Tovim, performing at family concerts throughout the UK. Also involved with educational and performance programmes with Atarah's Band on BBC Television and Radio, and on London Weekend Television. Appeared on Omnibus with the Ben-Tovim Ensemble. Performed at the Purcell Rooms.
  • Joined the Chris Williams Quartet, which was resident band at the Piccadilly Jazz Club. Played with Kenny Wheeler, Barbara Thompson and Dick Heckstall-Smith. Performed on radio sessions with Stan Tracey, Art Theman and Dick Morrisey.
  • Composed a series of short orchestral pieces and arrangements for the CBSO's children's concerts with Atarah Ben Tovim.
  • Played for some years with the Halle Orchestra in Manchester as a freelance musician, including under conductor Kent Nagano. Played guitar on African Sanctus for David Fanshawe on some dates.
  • Played as a freelance musician with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, including the recording of 'Resurrection' by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Played on occasion with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, including the 1996 East Coast tour of the USA, with Carl Davis.
  • Played guitar for the Halle's band Aleatronic on their 'Spirit of Change' programme, and on the subsequent album.
  • Performed at the Manchester Jazz Festival with Gary Cox, and also with Trio Halata. Played guitar and accompanied the poet Peter McSloy at the 1999 Manchester Poetry Festival, at the Bridgewater Hall.
  • Played guitar on the recording of the theme music for the Granada television programme, World in Action.
  • 1988-2006 Music tutor at the annual Burnley Jazz Summer School.
  • 1988 Joined the guitarist Mike Walker in a comprehensive masterclass weekend.
  • 2007 Played the baglama (a small bazouki) at the Manchester Opera House, for 'The Guardian of the Veil' a performance art piece, by Mathew Barney and Jonathan Bepler.

Community / Theatre Projects

THE MOON AND THE FIREBIRD - A large scale multi media piece for mixed instrumental ensemble, including electronic instruments, small choir, solo voices, actors, chinese zither and recorded sounds. Based on ancient chinese poems. Involved Leigh College Music Department and some students from the Drama Department.

RAIN - A primary school project based on 'Monsoon.' The project took five weeks and two sessions in a recording studio. The recorded piece was in conjunction with a multi projector display of abstract images which had been created by the children. Loosely based on gamelan.

COMING HOME - A community music and theatre piece. Set in two separate time zones, ninety years apart in the area of Prestwich, Manchester. The story featured the large local psychiatric hospital and its past history. This piece was part of the first ever Prestwich and Whitefield Arts Festival. It involved people from all parts of the community, and at all levels of acting and singing ability and various ages. It was performed with professional musicians.

EARTHRITES - A large scale music and theatre piece which celebrated in both words and music, the town of Burnley and its past, present and future. It was also concerned with the relationship between the inhabitants of that area and their environment.

Those taking part included a primary school, four secondary schools, Burnley Schools Brass Band and the South Pennine Singers. It was commissioned by Burnley Metropolitan Borough Council. The project won a P.R.S. Education Award.

JACK IN THE GREEN - A dance and mime based project, which celebrated the life-death-renewal continuum of nature and the folkloric pagan figure Jack in the Green. The project involved a large body of students from Bury College drawn from the music, drama and visual arts departments. It was rehearsed over an intensive six day period, which culminated in a public performance on the evening of the sixth day.

It was commissioned by Bury Metropolitan Borough Council.

THE BRANDY OF THE DAMNED - A community play with music, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Musicians' Union. It was part of the Musicians' Union centennial celebrations and an event for the Manchester City of Drama 1994. It was commissioned by the Salford Open Theatre.

THE MONKEY RUN - Composed the music for this large scale outdoor community theatre piece. It directly involved the people of Blidworth and Rainworth. As well as composer I was also the musical director. It was put together by the Western Area Arts Project and New Perspective Theatre Company. It was funded and supported by BT, East Midlands Arts Board, North Nottinghamshire Rural Projects Fund, Nottinghamshire County Council and Rural Action.

THE MEDIA MAGIC CARPET RIDE - Composed and arranged music for the Grassington Festival concert 'The Children of the Dales.' It was rehearsed in Manchester with professional musicians. Two performances were held in Grassington Town Hall.

1985-1993
I held the first ever position of Jazz Animateur in Music Education, and was then Musician in Residence for Jazz Development at the Music Education Department, in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan.

1993
Formed the Manchester Guitar Orchestra for the Halle Concerts Society Education Department. This bought together guitarists of all levels to meet and rehearse, and then perform the pieces I had composed and arranged. The first performance was held at the Bridgewater Hall.

1998 Masterclass session for young musicians for the Music Support Service, Liverpool.

2003 Composed 'Threads' for Stockport Grammar School. This was subsequently performed at the Royal Northern College of Music.