Paul Hughes

Director, BBC Orchestras and Chorus

Paul Hughes joined the BBC in 1999 and recently stepped down after 23 years as Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and of the BBC Singers. A graduate of Trinity College of Music where he studied piano, composition and conducting, Paul Hughes came to the BBC following a number of key roles with The Academy of Ancient Music (General Manager), IMG Artists, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Chief Executive) and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra (General Manager).

Under his directorship, the BBC ensembles have toured the world, recorded extensively, expanded audiences live, on air and on social media, undertaken a wide range of innovative education and audience development projects and championed new music, new composers and new artists. Paul Hughes has been leading on the design of a new studio complex for the BBC ensembles he directs, which is currently under construction on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the site of the 2021 Olympic Games, and due to open in 2025.

While at the BBC Paul Hughes has attracted the widest range of international artist collaborators, making several key appointments and relationships with, amongst others, Sir Andrew Davis, Jiri Belohlavek, Sakarik Oramo, Semyon Bychkov, Oliver Knussen, Sofi Jeannin, Jules Buckley, Dame Judith Weir, John Adams, Mark Anthony Turnage and Brett Dean

A Governor of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for nine years, Paul has a passion for discovering and nurturing the next generation of musicians and audiences, and is a guest lecturer at several of the UK’s leading conservatoires and at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He is the recipient of honorary membership from Trinity College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Royal College of Music and has recently been honoured by the Finnish government with the award of Knight First Class of the Order of the Lion, for services to Finnish music and musicians.

Paul Hughes is a regular juror for international competitions including the inaugural Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition (2007), the Long Thibaud Crespin piano and violin competitions (2014 and 2015), the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition (2018 and 2021), and the Hastings International Piano Competition (2022). He also returns as a main panel member of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

From 2021 Paul Hughes is delighted to be joining the International Advisory Council of the College of Music, Mahidol University, Bangkok.