Paul Burnell (born 1960, Ystrad, South Wales) is a composer and musician based in London, UK. Having studied music at Dartington College of Arts, Exeter University and Royal Holloway College and playing professionally in various ensembles, he took a ten-year break from music, returning to concentrate on composition in the 1990s. He has received many commissions from festivals, Summer Schools, ensembles and professional musicians in the UK and abroad, including: the finale of the Bath International Music Festival; Inchcholm New Music Ensemble with a tour of performances in Scotland and the Czech Republic; CoMA, with performances by many of the associated ensembles and a feature of his works at the Summer School; a series of percussion pieces for Chris Brannick; a harpsichord piece performed by Jane Chapman; trios for the Stanesby Players and for the The Duruflé Trio; a trumpet quartet for Bella Tromba; and many other pieces for a variety of instruments, including choir, string orchestra, piano (and toy piano), recorder orchestra, contemporary chamber groups of varying combinations and spoken word pieces. Paul enjoys writing pieces and experimenting with unusual combinations and instruments and often makes use of electronics and backing tracks. Some of his techniques can be found on his recorded albums such as ‘Leaving the Party on Pluto’, ‘Good to Go’, ‘Sticking with Childish Things’, ‘Face Each Aged Ache’, ‘Cabbage Heads’ and ‘Accompanied Readings’. An album of pieces with pianist James Bacon was released in 2016. In 2018 he won the Leatherhead Choral Society Composition Competition. 2019 saw the release of the album ‘Griff Said Ruff’ and included performances by the East Midlands CoMA Ensemble, percussionist Jordan Wright-Murray and by the Mandorla Duo at the Southwell Music Festival.
Paul has also conducted various orchestras and ensembles and tutored contemporary repertoire on recorder courses and written CD reviews for the Recorder Magazine.
As a performer, Paul Burnell was an early member of the CoMA London Ensemble, the Brake Drum Assembly percussion group from 2004-2009, and the Contakt composers ensemble from 2007 to 2016, all of which have given several performances of his work in and around London.