Paul McGrath was born in London, raised in Switzerland and then later came to school in the UK. His grandparents were Irish, Scottish, Maltese and Polish. After an early career in jazz, Paul began working in the theatre as a repetiteur and rehearsal pianist, joining the music staff at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, (where he also assisted Georg Solti), English National Opera, English National Ballet, and as Chorus Master at the Spanish National Opera in Madrid. Paul studied at the National Opera Studio, London and was a conducting fellow at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. While still a student, Paul made his professional opera conducting debut in Italy, and was then appointed associate conductor to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for a two year period. His opera conducting career began to flourish, and to date he has conducted more than 60 opera productions in opera houses all over the world – in Italy, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Spain and the USA, as well as nearly a decade as a principal guest conductor with English Touring Opera. Paul has also conducted the world premieres of 5 new operas, by composers including Jonathan Dove and Michael Nyman.
During his time at Warwick, Paul has developed the provision of world music, which began with various trips to India with the University Symphony Orchestra and has led to the annual spectacular, Warwick Fused. These projects have involved Paul as an arranger and this area of interest has led to forays into original composition. Two years ago Paul was commissioned by the Confucius Institute in Beijing to write a transcultural work, mixing western and Chinese instruments, singing and massed participation, a second commission followed in 2015 and to date ‘Evidence Pop’ has been performed in Arras, France, and ‘Evidence Frontieres’ has been performed in Arras, France, in Naples, Italy, and has been broadcast on CCTV television in Beijing, China.
Paul has appeared on television on the BBC Late Show, ITV The South Bank Show, Cor Op Reis TROS TV Netherlands and as a conducting mentor on the BBC TV series, ‘Maestro at the Opera’.
Lucy Griffiths (on maternity leave 2017-18)
Lucy Griffiths is one of the most respected conductor-animateurs of her generation. Having studied and won several prestigious prizes in the UK and Canada, her leadership experience ranges across vocal and instrumental music-making with professional, amateur, youth and adult ensembles at the very highest level of each. It has seen her appear on TV and radio, premiering new works, adjudicating competitions, touring extensively throughout the UK and internationally, and working alongside some of the world’s finest musicians and directors.
Lucy is Assistant Director of Music at the University of Warwick; a post she has held since 2005. She directs all of the university’s major vocal and instrumental ensembles and motivates music making passionately amongst students, staff and members of the local community. She is the creator and editor of their 50th Anniversary Global Songbook and has instigated many new and regular opportunities for people to engage and participate in music-making at the University. She is also Musical Director of the choir of Severn Trent Water, a post which was created for her after she led them to victory in the BBC’s inaugural series of Sing While You Work in 2012.
Lucy is a leading expert in the field of music education and engagement, specialising in vocal outreach. She is Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Junior Choir and Associate Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Senior and Community Choirs. This role has seen her work alongside some of the UK’s most eminent conductors on premieres of new works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Jonathan Dove, and she regularly trains choirs to sing with the London Symphony Orchestra. She was previously director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Training Choirs and also lectured in choral conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Lucy’s commitment to music in development has taken her all over the world; she has led singing projects for charities African Prisons Project in Uganda and Songbound in India.
Other recent work includes directing and conducting projects for the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sing Up, Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Music in Offices, Cranleigh Choral Week, Association of British Choral Directors, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Crisis and the London Symphony Chorus, in collaboration with musicians, actors, dancers, poets, writers and artists from many fields and backgrounds.