The English choral conductor, Paul Spicer, began his musical training as a chorister at New College. He studied with Herbert Howells and Richard Popplewell (organ) at the Royal College of Music in London, winning the Walford Davies Organ Prize in his final year.
Paul Spicer is best-known as a choral conductor, particularly of the acclaimed Finzi Singers with whom he has now made 15 CDs for Chandos records. He has conducted Bach Choirs in Chester and Leicester, and moved to conduct the Bach Choir in Birmingham in 1992. Recently described as being ‘among the premier division of the country’s choirs’, the Birmingham Bach Choir performs with major orchestras including the English Chamber Orchestra and Florilegium and as part of a wide-ranging programme gives the annual Bach St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) performance in Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Paul Spicer conducts the Chamber Choirs at the Royal College of Music in London, and the Birmingham Conservatoire, and is Professor of Choral Conducting at both institutions. He also conducts the Whitehall Choir in London and gives Choral Workshops all over the UK, in Europe and the USA. He has recently made his first trip to South Korea, conducting a week’s workshops, lecturing and giving concerts in Seoul.
Until July 2001 Paul Spicer was Artistic Director of the Lichfield International Arts Festival and the Abbotsholme Arts Society, posts he relinquished in order to pursue a completely freelance musical career. Earlier in his career he spent time as a teacher of music at Uppingham School and Ellesmere College, before moving on to become a recording producer. He was Senior Producer for BBC Radio 3 in the Midlands until 1990, and today is in great demand as a recording producer and as a composer. His large-scale Easter Oratorio, commissioned for performance in Lichfield Cathedral in July 2000 was described by The Independent as “almost operatic in its inherent drama” and as being “a major contribution to the choral society repertoire”. He has recently completed a work for choir and winds (The Deciduous Cross) based on five poems by R.S. Thomas commissioned for his tenth anniversary as conductor of the Birmingham Bach Choir. It was premiered in June 2003 and described as ‘a deeply-felt composition, almost intoxicatingly melodic throughout to create a chaste kind of spiritual ecstasy in which elements of reviving nature figure strongly’. New commissions include an anthem for the enthronement of the new Bishop of Durham in October 2003. As a writer, the highly acclaimed biography of his composition teacher, Herbert Howells, was published in August 1998 and went into its second edition exactly a year later.
Paul Spicer is a member of the Council of Lichfield Cathedral, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Honorary Research Fellow of Birmingham University and an Honorary Fellow of the Birmingham Conservatoire.