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Jennifer I Paull

Jennifer Paull’s father (whose mother was directly related to Giacomo Meyerbeer, Felix Mendelssohn and Arnold Schoenberg) was born in Austro-Hungary into the small Hungarian-speaking minority of what was then the Province of Slovakia, later Czechoslovakia and more recently Slovakia again. Her mother was half Scottish and a quarter Welsh. The final quarter being English, Jennifer Paull first saw the light of day on 24 November 1944 in Liverpool (most fortuitously at the time) and remains convinced that the above cultural pizzazz both elucidates and is responsible for absolutely everything she has undertaken in her artistically inquisitive, colourful and nomadic life.

The discovery of the oboe d’amore, whilst an oboe student at the Royal College of Music (London), changed both her life and that of this almost forgotten, beautiful instrument to which she subsequently dedicated her own. She remains the only soloist and recording artist ever to have devoted an international career to the oboe d’amore (the alto oboe) for which she is acknowledged as being the reference for the contemporary instrument. Her lifetime has been spent in researching and commissioning works for all the rare members of the oboe family, particularly that which she made her own. She is a recording artist, lecturer, cultural theorist, writer and publisher.

Although having performed with many of the leading orchestras in England and Europe as an oboe and cor anglais player as well as being an oboe d’amore specialist (BBC Symphony and Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic etc), the orchestral repertoire was neither where her heart beat the fastest, nor in which the instrument of her predilection was anything other than an occasional guest.

Music in all its guises as well as performance itself enabled her to explore her passion much more intensely. This extended from orchestral concerts and solo recitals to publishing new repertoire (for all members of the oboe family of instruments, especially the rarest of its members), music therapy and education, the organisation of concerts and festivals and working in artist and orchestral management. The fascination with the Comparative Arts’ perspective of her subject led Jennifer Paull to writing.

'The lens through which I view my subject is one of a musician who delights in the juxtaposition and oneness of all of the Arts: their comparison to my own and the very lack of separation and division between.'

Jennifer Paull’s book, Cathy Berberian and Music's Musings, was published in 2007 by Amoris Imprint. Her musical publications, recordings and writings can be explored at Amoris International.

Leon Goossens, the most celebrated, legendary British oboist of the twentieth century, spoke of Jennifer Paull's decision to devote her career exclusively to an instrument considered as obsolete, in an interview with Melvin Harris:

'That lass has her head screwed on the right way. She's absolutely right to make the d'amore her main instrument ...

'Yes, she's right to concentrate on it as her first choice ... If you enchant people with the d'amore sound, then you'll be sure to attract composers eager to write for you. That's why she shows great wisdom by specialising. Good luck to her!'

The Melvin Harris Collection (of Leon Goossens' complete recordings)
The Music Library
University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Jennifer Paull, a synaesthete, has two sons and two daughters and lives in the Suisse Romande region of Switzerland.

M&V articles about Jennifer I Paull

Editor's inbox - a selection of letters from our readers

What did you say you play? - Jennifer Paull writes about her love affair with the Oboe d'Amore (concluded from last week)

CD Spotlight - Renaissance. 'Jennifer Paull gives sparkling performances.' The oboe d'amore revitalised - with Basil Ramsey.

Music & Vision articles by Jennifer I Paull

Music by Jonathan Harvey, heard by Jennifer Paull. '... spiritual mind and fertile imagination ...'

Choral music by Jonathan Harvey, explored by Jennifer Paull. '... truly spellbinding ...'

Breaking Moulds: 1910, by Jennifer Paull

The homogeny of Jonathan Harvey, investigated by Jennifer Paull. '... superbly interpreted ...'

Jennifer Paull continues her investigation of musical and theatrical masks

Jennifer Paull investigates a layering of musical and theatrical masks, with the omnipresent eerie reminder of the gas mask

Universal Edition's preparations for the Mahler Centenary years (2010-2011), by Jennifer Paull

Peter Hatch's 'Wiki Mozart' delights Jennifer Paull. '... an intoxicating cocktail.'

Jennifer Paull investigates four releases of Cage's Number Pieces

Maurice Steger plays Giuseppe Sammartini, recommended by Jennifer Paull

In an occasional series 'The Musician's Guides', Jennifer Paull offers a few tips for survival when confronted with being the square musical peg in a round musical hole

Jennifer Paull pays tribute to Matthew Peaceman (1956-2008)

Jennifer Paull writes on the 25th Anniversary of the death of Cathy Berberian

Jennifer Paull interviews and investigates the Portuguese composer-pianist

Red Herrings Spawn in Rough Blogoon Waters, by Jennifer Paull

On the anniversary of Cathy Berberian's birth, Jennifer Paull investigates the legendary musician's extraordinary talents in humouristic performance, and her equally astounding wardrobe

On the 40th anniversary of 'The Miniskirt Affair', Jennifer Paull sets the mood of the 1960s into which Cathy Berberian's imaginative style of recital programming shook the conventional rafters of 'classical music' through sheer daring - her legacy to music-making

Jennifer Paull questions the focus of the lens of musical history

'With most reverent and obsequious apologies to all them that are heavy-laden with bassoon and shall find not rest, herein', by Jennifer Paull

On what would have been Cathy Berberian's 80th birthday, Jennifer Paull explores the life of the artist who died way too soon

Jennifer Paull pays tribute to Ifor James (1931-2004)

Gilles Apap in India, by Jennifer Paull. '... free from convention ...'


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