This page gives a summary of Paul's work an organist. If you need a biography for a programme note, or for publicity & promotion, please contact Paul for the latest version, or use the wording available at the "biographies" page of this website [click here].
"a confident musicality and formidable technical assurance"
Choir & Organ magazine
"Mr Ayres' commanding technique resulted in performances of total clarity and precision"
"a player of outstanding talent and authority"
Paul Ayres was born in London and read music at Oxford University as organ scholar of Merton College. He graduated with a first-class honours degree in 1991, at the same time obtaining the FRCO (Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists) diploma, winning the Turpin/Durrant, Harding and Samuel Baker prizes. He was Director of Music at St Peter's Church Ealing, London (1992-1998), and assistant Director of Music at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London (2001-2008): he now works as a freelance organist, composer and choral conductor.
Paul has given many solo recitals around the UK and on tour throughout Europe, Scandinavia, North America and Australasia. As an accompanist, he has played with choirs in England, Europe, and broadcast on British, Dutch, Italian and Australian radio. He was a semi-finalist in the Royal College of Organists' Performer of the Year in 1997 and again in the Odense International Organ Competition, Denmark in 1998.
His first solo CD, "Passacaglia", on the Fand Music Label, has been enthusiastically received:
"The Buxtehude and Bach pieces are given mature and yet energetic performances, whilst the Lloyd Webber and Koomans have so much vitality and bounce to them that they are quite addictive. On this his debut solo organ disc Paul Ayres shows himself to be a player of the highest calibre..."
Simon FitzGerald, The Organ, August 1998.
"Paul Ayres's attractively constructed programme... playing is never less than assured..."
Stephen Haylett, BBC Music Magazine November 1998.
"This is an imaginative record, by a fine player on a fine instrument... the playing is splendid!"
Organists' Review, November 1998.
"...an interesting programme, well played with great energy"
Church Music Quarterly, January 1999.
Recital venues have included:
[London] St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Central Hall, Union Chapel Islington, Marylebone Parish Church, St Bride's Fleet Street, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Southwark Cathedral
[UK] Bristol, Norwich, Sheffield, Truro, Edinburgh Cathedrals, Hexham Abbey, St Mary Redcliffe Bristol, Hull City Hall
[Europe] St Finbarre's Cathedral Ireland, Copenhagen Cathedral Denmark; venues in Holland, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Sweden
[North America] St Thomas's Fifth Avenue New York, Washington National Cathedral,
Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral Kansas City, St Andrew's Cathedral Honolulu
St James's Cathedral Toronto, Christ Church Cathedral Ottawa,
Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago, St Joseph's Cathedral Hartford
[Australasia] St George's Cathedral Perth, Nelson Cathedral, Rockhampton Cathedral, Newcastle Cathedral
Solo programmes are individually tailored to each venue's requirements, drawing on Paul's wide repertoire and creative concert planning. Recital repertoire is drawn from Paul's five main areas of interest:
· Early North European music (works by John Blow, Dietrich Buxtehude, William Byrd, François Couperin, Orlando Gibbons, Henry Purcell, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck);
· English Romantic tradition (Frank Bridge, Herbert Howells, Charles Villiers Stanford, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Healey Willan, Charles Wood);
· arrangements (in particular, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Paganini Variations, Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger overture);
· music by contemporary composers (including Nicholas Ansdell-Evans, Dominick Argento, Richard Arnell, Isobel Bowler, Paul Burnell, Ruth Byrchmore, Patrick Gowers, John Hawkins, Egil Hovland, Joanne Johnson, Mauricio Kagel, Dick Koomans, Andrew McBirnie, Peter Moller, Ben Morison & Simon Opit, Arvo Pärt, Antony Pitts (to hear Paul Ayres's performance of Antony Pitts's "In the year that King Uzziah died", visit Tonus Peregrinus), Lynne Plowman, Matthew Power, Alfred Schnittke, Viktor Suslin, Giles Swayne, Peter Thompson);
· the great works of Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.
As an accompanist (organ/piano) and continuo player (organ/harpsichord) Paul has performed with the City of London Players, London Concert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Alberni Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Bash, Hilliard Ensemble, London Philharmonic Choir, East London Chorus and others, in such venues as the Guildhall London, Barbican Centre, Royal Albert Hall, St John's Smith Square, Royal Festival Hall and Ely Cathedral.