2019 Callaway Lecture: Paul Rissman

Event details


Date and time

  • Wednesday 22 May 2019, Lecture: 7pm, Refreshments served from 6.30pm

Event type

  • On Campus


  • Anyone who likes music
  • Community

Event Fee

  • Free entry


  • Bookings essential
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2019 Callaway Lecture

In collaboration with WASO, we are delighted to welcome passionate music educationalist Paul Rissmann to present the 2019 Callaway Lecture, one of the most prestigious events in the calendar of the Conservatorium of Music.

Challenging Classical Conventions: exploring new opportunities to engage with the orchestra in the 21st century

The orchestra is changing. For centuries, its role and reach were more or less static. Today, thanks to the development of creative and inclusive educational programmes, the orchestra and its musicians are more assessable and more relevant to society than ever before. This talk will explore how composer and educationalist Paul Rissmann’s work has helped expand the range of activities the modern symphony orchestra has to offer, both on and off the concert platform.

Free entry - bookings essential

Contact details: [email protected]


‘The Jamie Oliver of animateurs’ Neue Muzikzeitung

‘Rissmann is without parallel. He has a line of communication that exactly matches, then advances the listening skills of his audience’ The Herald

Paul Rissmann was born on the Isle of Bute, Scotland and is a composer, presenter and music educationalist. He studied composition and classical saxophone at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He currently holds the position of Animateur with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and is Children’s Composer in Residence for Music in the Round.

Paul is passionate about music education. He is equally comfortable making music in a primary school or explaining the intricacies of Stravinsky’s motor rhythms to an audience of adults. His work in this field has received awards from both the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Royal Television Society. In 2014, he appeared as creative director in a Channel 4 (UK) documentary Addicts’ Symphony, which explored how music can be therapeutic in overcoming addiction.

Paul’s diverse portfolio of compositions range from electronic music for Microsoft to an orchestral suite for the LSO inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Paul has produced a series of highly interactive works that enable thousands of people to perform with professional musicians. His composition Bamboozled for audience and orchestra has been performed by over 50,000 people – from the Daytona Beach, Florida to Melbourne, Australia. It was performed at an Olympic Torch ceremony in the UK in 2012, in Avery Fisher Hall by the New York Philharmonic and in 2016 was broadcast around Australia by the ABC.

Paul is frequently commissioned to set children’s books to music. In 2012, he won a British Composer’s Award for his composition The Chimpanzees of Happytown. This piece was recently recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra with Paul as narrator. In 2018, ABC Classics released a recording of his adventure story Stan and Mabel performed by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

As a concert presenter, Paul has performed with leading orchestras in America, Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Malaysia and the Middle East. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra with both Valery Gergiev and Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall and toured India with Nicola Benedetti and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Paul has presented on BBC Radio Scotland, created a critically acclaimed series of music discovery concerts for adults called Naked Classics and explored the world of opera in Glyndebourne’s Behind the Curtain.