Paul Mealor is one of the 12 composers who have been asked to produce a piece of music for the Coronation of King Charles on May 6. But what do we know about Paul and his music? Read on to find out...

Who is Paul Mealor?

Paul Mealor is a Welsh composer who has written an extensive output of music, much of it for accompanied and unaccompanied chorus. However, Paul has also composed an opera, three symphonies, concerti and chamber music.

Read more of our Coronation composers series:

What is Paul Mealor most famous for?

Paul first came to national prominence when he wrote the song Ubi Caritas, sung at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Later, he composed the song 'Wherever You Are', which was performed by the Military Wives choir conducted by Gareth Malone, and became the UK's 2011 Christmas number one single.

How old is Paul Mealor?

Paul Mealor was born on 25 November 1975 in St Asaph, North Wales.

Where did he study?

Paul Mealor studied composition privately with and English classical composer John Pickard and Welsh choral composer William Mathias. After this, he read music at the University of York from 1994 to 2002. His teacher there was Nicola LeFanu. Paul's next move was to Copenhagen, where he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music with Hans Abrahamsen from 1998 to 1999.

Where does Paul Mealor teach?

Since 2003, Paul has taught at the University of Aberdeen, where his current role is Professor of Composition.

What music has Paul Mealor composed?

2011 was a big year for Paul Mealor. His setting of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal', rearranged as 'Ubi Caritas et Amor', was commissioned by Prince William for his marriage to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on 29 April that year. The piece was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, conducted by James O'Donnell.

Here's a performance of the song, sung by Tenebrae:

Later in 2011, Paul was commissioned to write the music for 'Wherever You Are', a song that used words from letters written to British Army military personnel in Afghanistan, by their wives or partners. The piece was performed on the BBC Two television series The Choir: Military Wives. Released as a single that Christmas, it became the UK 2011 Christmas number one, raising money for military charities.

The year 2011 also saw Paul sign to Decca Records. His first album for Decca, A Tender Light – a collection of sacred choral anthems – occupied top spot in the classical charts for six consecutive weeks.

What has Paul Mealor written for the Coronation?

Paul has the distinction of having written the very first-ever Welsh language performance at a Coronation. Paul Mealor's 'Coronation Kyrie’ will be sung by his compatriot, the Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, accompanied by the world-famous Choir of Westminster Abbey.

Talking about the inspiration for his composition, Mealor said: 'It is a meditative, introspective piece based on a blend between Gregorian chant and ‘Cerdd Dant’ (Welsh Penillion singing – an important part of eisteddfodau).

'I was inspired by the great Welsh tunes– Aberystwyth, Cwm Rhondda ('Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer'), Ar Lan Y Môr – and the composition is coloured by the harmonies of these songs. It is a cry from the deep soul of the hills and valleys of Wales for hope, peace, love and friendship.'

What else should I know about Paul?

Paul Mealor is a keen advocate of the music and culture of his native Wales. Since 2014, he has served as president of Tŷ Cerdd, which promotes Welsh music to the world. He's also a patron of the Welsh Music Guild.


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.