EX CATHEDRA | Paul Sharp - Trumpet

From our Messiah programme 2023

Paul grew up near Glasgow and was a chorister of Paisley Abbey. As a young trumpet player, he was inspired by hearing the legendary principal trumpet of the RSNO, John Gracie and the concerts given by John Wallace and the Wallace Collection. Paul took up a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music where his interest in playing historic brass instruments developed under the teaching of Michael Laird and Mark Bennett. 

Paul performs with many leading ensembles in the UK and internationally, in both orchestral and historical music spheres. He is principal trumpet of the Dunedin Concert with whom he has recorded Bach’s B Minor Mass, Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat. He has performed as principal trumpet with the English Baroque Soloists, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Kings Consort, Gabrieli and the Academy of Ancient Music and has recorded solo obbligato parts alongside James Bowman, Ian Bostridge, Mary Bevan, Elizabeth Watts and Iestyn Davies.

He has performed as principal trumpet with the Philharmonia, English Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Sir András Schiff’s chamber orchestra, Cappella Andrea Barca.

Paul is Professor of Natural Trumpet at the Royal College of Music.

1. How long have you been a member of Ex Cathedra and why did you join?

My first concert with Ex Cathedra was over twenty years ago when, as a student, I played in the section alongside my then trumpet teacher, Mark Bennett. It might have been a performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Lichfield Cathedral.

2. What does a typical day look like for you?

Variety is the upside of a freelance life and therefore it’s hard to describe a typical day. A typical week might involve days of rehearsals and concerts, a day of teaching, some travelling and all while trying to juggle a family life. A day at home is spent practising, catching up on emails, cooking and overseeing cello and piano practise with my 7 and 11-year-old children.

3. If you could choose to perform again any piece that you have performed before with Ex Cathedra, what would it be, and why?

We are most commonly called on to perform Bach’s B Minor Mass, Christmas Oratorio or Handel’s Messiah. I will never tire of playing these amazing works. It’s also fun to play lesser performed repertoire like the French Baroque programme we did last year. I have fond memories of performing the Vivaldi Dixit Dominus some years ago which has a movement which showcases the two trumpets. If I had to pick one piece for the dessert island, it would have to be the B Minor Mass.

4. When I’m not performing with Ex Cathedra, I like to…

Eat. Cook and eat. Drink. One of the great joys of life as a touring musician is travelling the world. This has inspired a love of food and drink. My happiest memories are the meals shared with friends after a concert. I can remember exactly what I ate and drank often more easily than what music I played!