Paul Hughes studied piano and composition at Trinity College of Music as an undergraduate, and went on to study composition and conducting as a post-graduate student.
He began his management career as General Manager of the Academy of Ancient Music, working with Christopher Hogwood on a series of major international tours and recordings. After five years he joined the International Management Group presenting a series of large-scale arena concerts and recital tours around the world with Itzhak Perlman, Jessye Norman, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Placido Domingo, and Jose Carreras. He joined the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as Chief Executive in 1993 where his interest in music education started and the orchestra’s outreach and education programme began to flourish. An award winning film music recording series, international tours, new concert series and festivals followed, and a renewed relationship with Edinburgh International Festival. A short period as general manager of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra brought new recordings and a major tour and recording of a new production of Verdi’s Falstaff.
Paul Hughes was appointed General Manager of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in 1999, with overall responsibility for the management and artistic direction of the ensemble. Major international tours, recordings, numerous commissions and premieres, a successful residency at the Barbican Centre and several major awards have characterised his leadership of the orchestra and he continues to drive the artistic programme in new and diverse directions. In 2013 he added the BBC’s full-time chamber choir, the BBC Singers, to his management portfolio. Together, these ensembles provide a huge range of output for live and broadcast audiences, featuring especially at the celebrated annual BBC music festival, the Proms.
Music education and lifelong learning are a particular passion of Mr Hughes, and he has overseen the expansion of this aspect of the BBCSO and BBC Singers’ work beyond the UK to parts of Europe, the UAE and Asia, forging partnerships and collaborations with a network of international presenters and especially with the British Council.
As a regular juror on international competitions, Mr Hughes has participated in the 2015 Honens and Long Thibaud Crespin piano competitions, the 2014 LTC violin competition, the Svetlanov and Besancon conducting competitions, and the 2017 China NCPA Young Composers’ Competition.
Paul Hughes holds Honorary Fellowships from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal College of Music, and Trinity Laban College of Music and Dance.
Outside of music he enjoys theatre, travel and cooking.