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Paul Paviour (1931-2024) : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Yuletide fanfare : SATB choir with chamber ensemble by Paul Paviour, from the CD Christmas in consort

Photo of Paul Paviour

Recognised as one of the most versatile of Australian composers, Paul Paviour studied mainly in the United Kingdom at the Royal College of Music and London University. He has been awarded Fellowships from London College of Music, Trinity College, the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal College of Organists, who also awarded him the prestigious Harding Prize.

He has held a considerable number of posts, mostly concerned with education or the church. These have included Cathedral organist and choirmaster at Bathurst NSW, Wakefield UK, and in North London, also Director of Music at the Newnham School, Normanton Grammar School, Yorkshire, All Saints College, Bathurst and lecturer at Goulburn Teacher's College (later Goulburn College of Advanced Education, later still NSW Police Academy!)

Paviour has always considered himself as an all rounder rather than a specialist. As a teacher he is one of the most experienced educators in the country, having taught primary, secondary and tertiary levels in two continents as well as guest lecturer in several other countries, and a member of several important educational committees. He is also in considerable demand as an examiner and adjudicator, regularly adjudicating at Eisteddfords in Sydney, in Adelaide, Albury and the Australian National Eisteddford in Canberra.

As an executant he is recognised as one of Australia's leading organists, regularly giving recitals in Sydney Town Hall, St Andrew's Cathedral, and the Cathedrals of Newcastle, Wangaratta, Bathurst, Wollongong and Goulburn; as well as overseas. His improvisations have been critically acclaimed by devotees of organ music. Paviour is also in demand as a conductor with choral societies and orchestras and is recognised as one of the country's leading choral conductors. His Goulburn Consort of Voices has made several tours, including a European tour in 1982, and, by special request, sang for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.

He has been Director of Music for several important historic events including the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1974, the Consecration of the Bathurst Cathedral in 1971 and the opening by HM The Queen of the new Federal Houses of Parliament in May 1988.

As a composer, Paul Paviour has written for virtually all genres and combinations. It is difficult to give a full contemporary assessment of his output as several significant works have never been publicly performed, or have been lost or destroyed. It is possible that future generations will look back and consider the seven symphonies an important contribution to the 20th century Australian symphonic repertoire, particularly the 5th and 6th symphonies. If we ignore the works of the violent experimental period, the general style is mainstream and the choral works in particular are readily accepted by both performers and audiences. The works for amateurs and school groups, both vocal and instrumental, have deservedly been very popular with a growing public.

As one of the country's leading authorities on hymn tunes and folk songs, Paviour has edited, or contributed to, a number of important compendiums of traditional songs and hymnology. Folk songs and hymn tunes and even dance tunes are to be found in several of his compositions (eg. Fourth Symphony, first movement). In this respect, he can be considered a part of a continuing tradition, rather than an individualist or revolutionary, but, as in all creature artists, it is the future that will see the works against the background of Australian contemporary achievement.

With such wide sympathies and interests and a deep practical knowledge in music making at all socioeconomic levels, amateur and professional, it is not surprising that his musical output covers virtually the whole gamut of creative work, whether for music, theatre, concert hall, cathedral, home, classroom, folk-song festival and even dance hall. With this development to a more refined and accessible style from the early seventies onwards, the later works have made a considerable contribution to Australian music, and indeed the English speaking world. Possibly the most important contribution would be the choral works for amateur choirs such as the carols and part songs, and the larger works.

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2003 Order of Australia Medal of the Order For service to music, particularly within the community of Goulburn, as an educator, composer and musician

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Per ardua ad astra : for chorus and instrumental group (2009) Commissioned by Goulburn Returned Service League to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary in 1990 of the Battle of Britain
Hymnophony : for trumpet in B flat and piano (2008) By John Ross, Albury Conservatorium.
Rosemary canticles (mixed choir with accompaniment) (2006) Commissioned for the Southern Tablelands Festival
Diversions on the old 104th (quintets: horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba) (2004) Commissioned by Fellowship of Australian Composers.
Digital sheet music sample Into His wonderful light : festive anthem for choir and organ (2004) Written for the 2004 RSCM summer school.
The Glories of this noble sound : SATB choir with organ (2001) Commissioned by the Uniting Church to be sung at the dedication of the rebuilt Jackson historic organ, Lindfield Uniting Church, Sydney in November 2001