Get to know our adjudicators
Paul Hunt be adjudicating classical music classes at WCAF this year. Read on to learn a little bit more about him and find out about his diverse tastes and his interesting pets!
GRNCM ALCM LLCM Dip. Couns.
Paul Hunt made his performing debut at the age of fifteen playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. He went on to study with Professor Rudolph Botta at the Royal Northern College of Music. While based in the North of England he played with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Halle and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestras. He was appointed Head of Strings (later becoming a Housemaster) at Monmouth School in 1983, a post he held for 33 years before retiring from full time teaching in 2016. Parallel to a teaching career he has performed as a solo recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral violinist performing with many orchestras including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Sadler’s Wells. Throughout his career he has played under the batons of many of the greatest conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Charles Groves, Sir Neville Marriner and Vernon Handley to name but a few. He has also been involved in studio work recording at, amongst others, the famous Rockfield Studios and at Nimbus both near Monmouth. Many of his former students have gone on to study at music college and have enjoyed successful careers as performers and teachers. In addition to his musical activities Paul is a qualified counsellor, lectures in Herpetology (snakes!), holds black belts in Judo and Karate and is on the Board of Directors of a national children’s cancer charity. He is an avid reader and enjoys playing Mah Jong with his grandchildren.
Julia has been a much sought-after adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals for more than 20 years. She is a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, the Association of Teachers of Singing, the British Voice Association, the Association of English Singers and Speakers, for whom she has judged both the Patricia Routledge Competition and the Courtney Kenny Award and she is a Friend of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique.
We caught up with Paul to find out a little more about him:
What are your top tips for preparing for a performance at a festival?
I would suggest considering your repertoire carefully, selecting a piece that you enjoy playing and a piece that shows off your technical and musical skills. Thorough preparation is then the key.
Who is your favourite composer/performer and why?
I don’t know that I have an actual favourite composer, I enjoy playing music of many different styles and genres. However, if I had to pick one it would probably be J S Bach. The Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin are unsurpassed in their technical intricacy and beauty.
What is your favourite/funniest/first memory of performing at a festival yourself
I remember playing a Bach solo sonata in a church when a large fly landed on the music. Having camouflaged itself by landing exactly over a crotchet, it then proceeded to walk around the score. It was rather disconcerting as I thought the music was moving before my eyes!
What is your advice for dealing with nerves?
We, as performers, all suffer from nerves to a greater or lesser degree. This actually is a good thing providing the nerves do not impair the performance. I would suggest the best way to deal with nerves is to by thorough preparation; knowing your music intimately, every single note, every nuance, every dynamic. With technical security experience of performing will help you to cope with nerves.
What is your favourite food?
Like my musical appetite my culinary tastes are also very diverse. I love all types of fish, pasta and have a particular weakness for cheese!
Where is the most exciting place you have adjudicated?
That is an easy one. It was at a school in Miami. I just had to remember the different terminology: quarter notes instead of crotchets, measures instead of bars! But it was great fun.
Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and what is/are their name(s)?
When I taught full time I kept 10 snakes in my classroom. Most were rescue animals and all had amusing names such as Monty Python (a three metre Burmese Python) and Julius Squeezer (a beautiful Rainbow Boa). At home we also have a cockapoo puppy whose favourite composer is, unsurprisingly, Bach!!
Tell us a little-known fact about yourself...
I enjoy sport and hold black belts in both Judo and Karate but sport was in the family as my father played football for England in the 1950’s.
Thanks so much for letting us get to know you a little better, Paul!