Born in Lincolnshire, he studied music as an organ scholar at St Chad's College, University of Durham before working as a teacher of music and English, firstly at Pangbourne College (1981-1990) then as Composer in Residence for Charterhouse School (1990-1997).
He left teaching to pursue his career in composing and in 2002 he wrote his first film score The Incredible Mrs Ritchie, directed by Paul Johansson. Hawes first gained widespread public recognition with the 2004 release of his debut album Blue in Blue, a collection of choral and orchestral pieces. Made CD of the week on Classic FM in 2004, it was nominated for a Classical Brit award and was voted by Classic FM listeners as the fastest ever and highest new entry into the station’s Hall of Fame. The first track on the album Quanta Qualia was subsequently chosen by Hayley Westenra for her 2005 album Odyssey.
From 2006 to 2007 Hawes was Composer in Residence at Classic FM. This position involved writing twelve pieces for piano, each piece being premiered over a twelve-month period. The pieces were directly inspired by his move to the Norfolk coast and by the skies and landscapes of the county. The resulting album Towards the Light was an instant hit with the public and, for a second time, Classic FM listeners voted an album of his as the highest new entry in the 2007 Hall of Fame. A national tour followed and Patrick enthralled audiences with his performances at the piano.
April 2009 saw the release of Hawes’s third album Song of Songs which consists of six choral pieces for strings and voices along with other works for choir and organ. The recording features the English Chamber Orchestra, Hawes’ own choir Conventus and the soprano Elin Manahan Thomas. Hawes joined forces with Thomas once again, and also with Julian Lloyd Webber, for his subsequent album Fair Albion: Visions of England. Both of these releases were made CD of the Week on Classic FM within a six-month period.
Patrick was commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales to write the Highgrove Suite in 2009. This began as a one-movement work for harp and strings and was premiered at Covent Garden on the Prince’s sixtieth birthday by the royal harpist Claire Jones and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Three new pieces for the same forces completed the suite, each one inspired by an aspect of HRH’s garden at Highgrove House with the suite being premiered at Highgrove on 8 June 2010. A BBC2 Alan Titchmarsh documentary about the gardens at Highgrove also followed the musical process and was first aired on 23 September 2010.
In 2011, Hawes was commissioned to write a piece for the Lancaster Festival Ohio in the United States, for which he produced the phenomenal Te Deum. The American audience was enthralled during the premiere in July of that year, at which Hawes was present. The piece is set to have its UK premiere in Rochester Cathedral on 3 November 2012.
Hawes' biggest work to date is his Lazarus Requiem. Premiered at the Cadogan Hall, London in 2008, the work was recorded in January 2012 by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Exeter Philharmonic Choir, Exeter Cathedral Choir and the soloists Thomas Walker, Elin Manahan Thomas, Rachael Lloyd, and Julian Rippon. The cathedral premiere also took place in Exeter on 17 March 2012. The work intersperses the traditional Latin Requiem text with an account in English of the raising of Lazarus from St John’s Gospel.
In 2013, Hawes signed a three-album deal with Decca Records  and his first album with them "Angel" was released on 3 March 2014 and reached Number One in the classical charts. Recorded with the soprano Grace Davidson, the Choir of New College, Oxford and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra the album depicts angels in their many forms.
As part of the commemorations of remembrance to mark the First World War, Hawes was commissioned by the Sheringham & Cromer Choral Society in Norfolk to write a large-scale new work for choir and orchestra based on the life of nurse Edith Cavell, a heroine of the war who saved many hundreds of soldiers at great risk to herself. The work, "Eventide: In Memoriam Edith Cavell" was premiered in Norwich Cathedral in July 2014. Hawes was also commissioned to write a new work for the Aliquando Choir of Henley-upon-Thames based on the words of the Wilfred Owen poem "I know the Music" for their commemoration of the First World War in November 2014. Another new work written by Hawes to commemorate the first battle of the First World War entitled "The Angel of Mons" was premiered in his brother's church in Edenham, Lincolnshire on 23 August 2014, the exact centenary of the date on which the apparition of the Angel of Mons was said to have occurred.
Hawes' music derives from a rich, tonal style influenced by his love of the English Romantic tradition as well as the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
His special affection for vocal music has resulted in several collaborations with his brother, the poet Andrew Hawes, most notably the children’s opera A King’s Ransom and the choral works The Land and The Vauday Part Songs.
He currently lives near the Norfolk coast, and draws influence from the beauty of nature, English literature and heritage, and his Christian faith. Hawes remains a keen organist, holding the Fellowship award from the Royal College of Organists and is currently the organist of Worstead Church in Norfolk.
- The Call (1999; soprano, orchestra)
- The Blue Bird Variations (2002; soloists, choir, orchestra)
- Pavane from "The Incredible Mrs Ritchie" (2002; guitar, chamber orchestra)
- The Lazarus Requiem (2004; soloists, choir, semi-choir, orchestra, baritone saxophone)
- Quanta Qualia (2004; choir)
- Lullaby (2005; violin, piano)
- Towards the Light (2006; piano)
- Song of Songs (2008; soloist, choir, string orchestra / quintet & harp)
- Hearts of England (2008; soloist; orchestra)
- Highgrove Suite (2010; string orchestra)
- Te Deum (2011; soloists, choir, orchestra)
- Morfudd Song Cycle (2012; soloist, piano)
- Eventide: In Memoriam Edith Cavell (2014; soloist, choir, orchestra)
- The Angel of Mons (2014; soloist, choir, orchestra)
- Blue in Blue (2004) - Black Box BBM1081
- Blue in Blue (2005) - Universal Classics and Jazz UCJ 4763020 (rerelease plus new recordings)
- Quanta Qualia (2005) - Decca 4757157
- Towards the Light (2006) – Sony
- Towards the Light (2010) – Decca CFM FW 148
- Song of Songs (2009) - Signum SIGCD162
- Fair Albion (2009) - Signum SIGCD178
- Highgrove Suite (2010) – Classic FM / Decca CFMD16
- The Lazarus Requiem (2012) - Signum SIGCD282
- Angel (2014) - Decca 3742046
- Classic FM - Patrick Hawes: Composer biography. Accessed 19 April 2014
- "Interview: Patrick Hawes", Church Times, 21 March 2014. Accessed 19 April 2014
- Official website
- Patrick Hawes' homepage at Chester Music
- Patrick Hawes' homepage at Music Sales Film & TV
-  Performance of Hawes' Reflexionem
- news.bbc.co.uk/local/gloucestershire/hi/people.../8706185.stm[dead link]