Patrick Hawes

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Patrick Hawes
Patrick Hawes in 2013.jpg
Born (1958-12-05) 5 December 1958 (age 59)
Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England
Occupation Composer, conductor

Patrick Hawes (born 1958) is a British composer, conductor, organist and pianist.


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).

His first major work, the oratorio The Wedding at Cana, was first performed by the Pangbourne College Choral Society in 1990 and one of the highlights of the work is the magical duet from the ninth movement The Waters of Love.[1]

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 Hawes 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’s 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.

Hawes was commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales to write the Highgrove Suite in 2009.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

In 2011, Hawes was commissioned to write a piece for the Lancaster Festival Ohio in the United States, for which he produced Te Deum.[5] Hawes was present at the American premiere in July 2011. The UK premiere was in Rochester Cathedral on 3 November 2012.

Hawes's 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 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 May 2012 Hawes completed a song cycle in Welsh for Elin Manahan Thomas based on the poems of 14th century Welsh poet Dafydd ap Gwilym.

In 2013, Hawes signed to Decca Records [6] and his album with them, Angel, was released on 3 March 2014 and reached Number One in the classical charts.[7] Recorded with 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 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.

In 2015, Hawes produced his clarinet concerto for Emma Johnson which Gramophone called "musically nourishing…a fine work…gorgeous…".[8]

He has recently written a new work Musica Dei Donum for the multi-award-winning ensemble The King's Singers and is currently working on his biggest project to date - a choral symphony entitled The Great War Symphony to be premiered in London's Royal Albert Hall in 2018.[9]

His eight album, Revelation, released on Naxos Records February 2017, shows a collaboration with the Elora Singers, Canada.[10] The album features twenty-two brand new choral works including two choral collections. The first of the new collections, Revelation, is a collection of nine pieces based on text from the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, written by St John on the island of Patmos. The second work, Beatitudes, is a collection setting the eight Beatitudes of Christ from the Gospel of St Matthew and captures the essence of Christ’s message that those people normally thought of as being unfortunate are, in fact, blessed. Five other standalone works complete the album including The Word which sets the beautiful poetry from the opening words of the Gospel of St John (the Johannine Prologue), The Lord’s Prayer from Patrick’s mass setting The Edenham Eucharist, and a new recording of Patrick’s 2004 piece Quanta Qualia, in the arrangement he wrote for Voces8’s album Eventide.


Hawes's 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, "Song of Songs" and The Vauday Part Songs.

He currently lives near the Norfolk coast, and is inspired by the beauty of nature, English literature and heritage, and his Christian faith.[11] 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.

Key works[edit]

  • The Call (1999; soprano, orchestra)
  • The Blue Bird Variations (2002; soloists, choir, orchestra)
  • Pavane from "The Incredible Mrs Ritchie" (2002; guitar, chamber orchestra)
  • Quanta Qualia (2004; choir)
  • Towards the Light (2006; piano)
  • Song of Songs (2008; soloist, choir, string orchestra / quintet & harp)
  • Hearts of England (2008; soloist; orchestra)
  • The Lazarus Requiem (2008; soloists, choir, semi-choir, orchestra, baritone saxophone)
  • 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)
  • The Edenham Eucharist (2016; celebrant, congregation, organ and optional SATB choir)
  • Clarinet Concerto (2015; clarinet soloist, orchestra)
  • Revelation (2017; unaccompanied SATB choir)
  • Beatitudes (2017; SATB choir, piano)
  • The Great War Symphony (to be premiered 2018; soloists, choir, orchestra)

Selected recordings[edit]

  • Blue in Blue (2004) - Black Box BBM1081
  • Blue in Blue (2005) - Universal Classics and Jazz UCJ 4763020 (re-release 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
  • Revelation (2017) - Naxos 8.573720


External links[edit]