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.
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. 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 third album for Decca Records. Entitled Angel it features the Choir of New College Oxford, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestraas 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.
Some of his most recent projects have included 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 theNational Youth Harp Orchestra, and a new song for the soprano Sarah Brightman. His eighth album, Revelation, recorded with The Elora Singers (Canada) was released with Naxos Records in March 2017 to critical acclaim.
Most recently, he has written 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.