Paul Jarman is one of Australia’s favourite choral composers and conductors, writing more than fifteen commissioned works each year, school and town anthems; conducting in festivals and events, nationally and internationally as an artist in residence in colleges, schools and communities and performing as a multi-instrumentalist in concerts, many featuring his music that has touched the hearts of audiences and singers of all ages around the world. His pieces have become choral classics – Shackleton, Sea of Berries, Ancient City, Volta do Mar Largo, The Will to Climb, Pemulwuy, Let go the Long White Sails, Eye of the Needle, Towards Infinity, Band of Brothers and many more.
He has written about some of the most interesting people and events of our time including Martin Luther King Jr, Malala Yousafzai, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mary MacKillop, Ernest Shackleton, Jessica Watson, Jesse Martin, Hugh Evans, Terry Fox, Andrew Hughes, Frank Hurley, Pemulwuy and Helen Keller. He has had music performed in events including the London Olympics, Rugby World Cup, Centenary of Federations, Australia Day Finale and for President Barack Obama in the White House. He features as one of 7 composers selected to compose music for the 400th Anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, and is the only composer in the world to have written a piece that premiered under the Menin Gate in Ypres, for the soldiers of the Somme in the Great War. His songs are about explorers, mountaineers, pioneers, leaders and dreamers, innovators, risk takers and those who make a difference to the world. He has been commissioned over 150 times. Paul’s journey into choral music is an interesting story…
Paul began performing at the age of 5 and did his first professional ‘gig’ at the age of 14, playing saxophone and clarinet in a jazz duo with his brother Adam. He joined various rock bands in his teens, producing a handful of albums and touring pubs and clubs in Sydney, Melbourne and other Australian centres. Paul attended the Sydney Conservatorium in 1989 to study a bachelor of music in education but decided to defer his studies to explore a music career full time. Two months later, riding his motorbike, Paul was hit by a truck in a tragic head-on collision.
Paul was rushed to intensive care in a coma with extensive injuries including 5 broken ribs, broken shoulders and scapula , a hole in his left leg, shattered thumb and wrist and a ruptured spleen. Due to his injuries, Paul had to put performance on hold, and he worked in a law firm and a second hand record store while getting back into the Sydney band scene and becoming a full time artist again at the age of 23. Two years later he was invited to join Australia’s iconic world music ensemble Sirocco, founded in 1980.
Paul’s first concert with the group was in New Delhi, and after the tour of India, Paul became a full time member, performing in festivals and events, producing and recording albums, working as a cultural ambassador for the Department of Foreign Affairs and working in schools for Musica Viva. During this decade, Paul learned over 25 instruments, performed with the Renaissance Players, Colin Offord and the Great Bowing Company, Troy Cassar-Daley, Jimmy Little, William Yang, Zulya, Skorba, and in theatre festivals, dance productions, and as a musical director for various festivals and events including the Deadly Awards. He worked as a session musician on Australian feature films and TV, and composed adventure documentary film scores.
In 1999 Paul was composing the music for the Australia Day Finale in Sydney Harbour. It was the vision of Artistic Director Andrew Walsh that the event would conclude with a choir of children singing from the masts of a tall ship as it sailed into the harbour, under the musical direction of Lyn Williams. Paul wrote his first ever choral work, ‘Let go the Long White Sails’ for this event and upon hearing the Sydney Children’s Choir for the first time, his musical journey transformed. Many agree that nothing is quite like the sound of a children’s choir.
With Paul’s professional experience performing in over 40 countries, and an understanding of the culture of music from the Pacific Nations, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Indigenous Australia, and styles as diverse as classical, celtic, Jazz, pop, funk, reggae, medieval to contemporary, Paul had a global experience to bring to choral music. With a penchant for artists such as Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Marley, Neil Young, Towns Van Zandt, Bob Dylan and Nick Cave, and a love of the great song writers, Rogers and Hart, Hammerstein, Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin among others, his passion for lyrics and poetry fused with his interest in history, geography and current affairs, and Paul’s choral sound was born.
Today, Paul dedicates his passions mostly to choral music and in recent years he has worked together with his wife Bonnie Nilsson, a singer songwriter, on many of his new pieces. We invite you to share his journey and enjoy his music.
For more about Paul see his Biography and CV on this website.
Paul’s Blog Latest
Glasgow Female Chamber Choir Les Sirènes record Paul's Shakespeare 400th Anniversary piece- 2 February, 2017
Glasgow based Female Chamber Choir Sirènes have become the first choir in the world to record the set of Shakespeare songs published by Oxford University Press last year, including Paul's 'And Will He Not Come Again' from Hamlet...Click for more information...
2016 the 'Best' year to date for commissions- 28 January, 2017
In 2016 Paul completed 20 commissions. This is thanks largely to his inspiring wife and collaborator, Bonnie Nilsson. Bonnie is a fine singer/songwriter, and working together in 2016 on half of the commissions has been a pleasure, opening up a new world of lyrics and ideas to share...Thanks Bonnie
Artist in Residence Dulwich College Asia MAY 2017- 28 January, 2017
Paul is honoured to be a visiting artist in 5 cities around Asia for Dulwich College. He will be conducting his music in rehearsal and concerts and performing for students in Singapore, Myanmar, China and Korea...