Paul Johnson. Sacred Choral Music and Solo Songs
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About Paul Johnson


b. 1930 West Norfolk.  Educ. King Edward VIII G.S., King's Lynn;  Jesus College, Cambridge &Bretton Hall College of Education (Leeds University).

CAREER:  returned to Cambridge to work for Thurston Dart at Jesus as P.A. Then followed several years as a Music teacher (St. George's College, Weybridge & Worth Prep. School, Sussex)before joining Anglia TV as Schools Officer & Children's Programmes producer.

In 1965 appointed Music Lecturer, first at St. Mary's College, Twickenham, then at Sidney Webb College in the West End of London until retirement. Open University Summer Schools & WEA.

In 1965 he was appointed Composer-in-Residence at the RC Shrine at Walsingham for the whole year of Concerts and Services celebrating the Centenary of the revival of pilgrimages to this former important medieval pilgrim destination, second in England only to Canterbury.

INFLUENCES:  His home was was notably musical – both parents came from families with strong musical connections as church choral singers, music teachers, pianists. An uncle was organist of the huge Norwich church (now Cathedral) of St. John the Baptist.

Paul Johnson's brothers and sister all played the piano from childhood. His eldest brother was a professional jazz pianist: another directed the choir of the London University Catholic Chaplaincy at St. Etheldreda's Church, Ely Place, Holborn and held annual Christmas Carol parties.

At Cambridge, two members of the Music Faculty left their mark – 'Bob' Thurston Dart, musicologist and superb harpsichordist; and Peter Tranchell, his highly creative and witty Supervisor.Johnson owed his place at Jesus College to the then Senior Tutor, Robbie Jennings who recognised the dual aptitude of Music and Drama in a candidate not as technically equipped as most in the Faculty. Looking back, a switch to Medieval History would have been a wise move.

Above all, Cambridge offered unequalled opportunities for singing in choirs and 'ad hoc' groups, and the chance to hear superb performances of Renaissance, Baroque and later choral music in the leading college Chapel Choirs.At the RC Chaplaincy he sang Gregorian chant throughout these years, and this 'immersion' can often be felt in his own later choral work.


Now well into his Eighties, Paul is still busy – some of the music produced for the Walsingham Centenary has been revised, and also second looks are being cast on two of his Entertainments. His interest in the poetry of John Clare and the Entertainment is currently being reworked as JOURNEY OUT OF HELPSTON, and additional music added.

In 1982, Paul Johnson decided to take up the piano again. Under the expert encouragement of Cambridge recitalist and foremost piano teacher David Christophersen, he is gradually acquiring a sounder technique, to the point of giving fund-raising recitals on his Lynn church's Bechstein!

In addition to this, he is looking again at earlier compositions. With greater experience now, he makes improvements where called for. He simply wishes to leave all in good order. Like other creative artists he finds it hard to promote his own work. A shy temperament? Ironically, he has no qualms about entertaining an audience.He prepares thoroughly and, though lacking the skill to tell jokes, he can easily engender laughter. After which he plays.They,hopefully, enjoy listening.

St Margarets