In recent years, Patrick Hawes has emerged as one of the country’s most popular and inspirational composers. Born in Lincolnshire, he read music as an organ scholar at Durham University, and soon went on to make an impact in the world of choral music with his cantata The Wedding at Cana. It was with the release of his debut album Blue in Blue, however, that Patrick first gained widespread public recognition. 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 standout track Quanta Qualia became a hit with audiences across the world and the New Zealand star Hayley Westenra recorded it for her own award-winning album Odyssey.
From 2006 to 2007 Patrick 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 wonderful 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 it the highest new entry in the 2007 Hall of Fame.
April 2009 saw the release of Patrick’s 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, Patrick’s own choir Conventus and soprano Elin Manahan Thomas. Patrick joined forces with Elin once again and cellist 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.
In 2009, Patrick wrote the Highgrove Suite for HRH The Prince of Wales. 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. The complete work was premiered in the Orchard Room at Highgrove in the presence of TRHs The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and also featured in the accompanying TV special with Alan Titchmarsh.
In 2011, Patrick was commissioned to write a piece for the Lancaster Festival Ohio in the United States, for which he produced his Te Deum.
Patrick’s Lazarus Requiem premiered at the Cadogan Hall London in 2008, 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 17th 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, he released his seventh album. Entitled Angel, and released by Decca, it features the Choir of New College Oxford, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as well as guest soloists and reached Number One in the classical charts.
During the course of 2014, Patrick was commissioned to write three new works to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War: the first was Eventide: In Memoriam Edith Cavell inspired by the heroism of the WWI nurse; the second depicted the legend of The Angel of Mons appearing to soldiers in the first battle of the war; the third was a work inspired by the unfinished Wilfred Owen poem I Know the Music.
His eighth album, Revelation, recorded with Grammy® and Juno-nominated The Elora Singers (Canada) was released with Naxos Records in March 2017 to critical acclaim. This was followed by various projects including a new Clarinet Concerto for Emma Johnson, two new settings of Musica Dei Donum (one in English and one in Latin) for The King’s Singers, a new work – St George and the Dragon – for harp ensemble for the National Youth Harp Orchestra, and a new song for the soprano Sarah Brightman.
In 2018, he composed and recorded The Great War Symphony as part of the official commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. One of his biggest projects to date, the recording – with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, National Youth Choir of Great Britain and soloists Louise Alder and Joshua Ellicott – was released in Sep 2018 and immediately entered the classical charts at Number One, where it remained for several weeks. It received its World Premiere performance in Oct 2018 in London’s Royal Albert Hall, followed a month later by the U.S. Premiere in New York’s Carnegie Hall.
His tenth album The Fire of Love was released in 2021, recorded by Grammy®-nominated conductor Dr James Jordan and The Same Stream Choir (U.S.A). Also in 2021, he completed his Piano Concerto for Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski which was premiered at the Enescu Festival, Bucharest in September 2021.
Patrick is currently writing an opera based on the children’s book Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat and a new album of Christmas works for the Voce Chamber Choir, New England.