Paul Rissmann was born on the Isle of Bute, Scotland and is a composer, presenter and music educationalist. He studied composition and classical saxophone at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He currently holds the positions of Animateur with the London Symphony Orchestra and Children’s Composer in Residence for Music in the Round.
Paul is passionate about music education. He is equally comfortable making music in a primary school or explaining the intricacies of Stravinsky’s motor rhythms to an audience of adults. His work in this field has received awards from both the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Royal Television Society. Paul appeared as creative director in a Channel 4 (UK) documentary Addicts’ Symphony, which explored how music can be therapeutic in overcoming addiction.
Frequently commissioned to transform children’s literature into symphonic scores, Paul won a British Composer’s Award in 2012 (for The Chimpanzees of Happytown) and was nominated for an Ivor Novello Composer Award in 2020 (for What Do You Do With An Idea?). ABC Classics released a recording of his musical adventure Stan and Mabel and the LSO have just recorded his Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking-Glass concert suites.
Paul’s music has been performed by orchestras all over the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Luxembourg Philharmonic.
Recent commissions include a prequel to Stravinsky’s Firebird ballet for the LPO, a setting of Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing for the ASO, and the soundtrack to an animated feature film about dinosaurs.
Paul creates and performs bespoke orchestral events for people of all ages which range from full-scale orchestral concerts for young listeners to a critically acclaimed series of music discovery concerts for adults called Naked Classics. He has guest presented Classics Unwrapped for BBC Radio Scotland, Inside Music for BBC Radio 3 and dissected the world of opera for Glyndebourne in Behind the Curtain.
Paul has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra with Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia, Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and toured India with Nicola Benedetti and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.