Paul was brought up in Ilford, Essex and studied piano, violin and composition at the Royal College of Music. After developing an interest in jazz he joined NYJO in the early 70s, playing electric bass. He went on to work as a bass player, piano accompanist and jazz violinist to Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, an association which was to last into the early eighties and take him around the globe many times. He was also much in demand as a session musician.
During this period he met Joe Campbell and in 1979 the pair formed Joe & Co., a company specialising in composing and producing music for advertising, films and television. The company has come to be regarded as one of the foremost music production companies in the world, winning a host of awards.
In the late 70s and early 80s Paul guested with NYJO, playing violin and synthesizer on his Sherwood Forest Suite, as well as playing keyboards with Dankworth, violin with Rod Argent and keyboards with Bill Russo. He also played violin with fellow NYJO alumnus Frank Ricotti’s All Stars on The Beiderbecke Collection, an album of music written for friend of NYJO Alan Plater’s popular television series of the same name.
Extremely prolific as a composer and arranger, Paul has scored many full-length feature films, television series such as Waking The Dead, advertising jingles and, together with Dave Arnold, a host of music identity packages for radio stations, including Classic FM and the BBC World Service.
Paul has also established an enviable reputation as a leading composer of contemporary classical music including a guitar concerto, written for John Williams, and recorded by him with NYJO.
In the early 80s, Paul wrote a suite – Theme And Deviations – structured loosely on Beethoven’s Für Elise, which was recorded by NYJO midway through the decade. In 2000, he was commissioned by the BBC to write a suite – Out Of Hamelin – based on the tale of the Pied Piper, for that year’s Millennium Prom. In 2006 NYJO released both suites on the album Two Suites By Paul Hart.
Apart from NYJO, Paul has also written for the North Texas Wind Symphony (NTWS) – pieces such as Cartoon, composed for the 1991 Royal Tournament at London’s Earls Court, and Circus Ring – classical orchestras and smaller ensembles. His orchestral works include two concertos (one written for percussionist Evelyn Glennie), an anthem dedicated to Nelson Mandela and a set of variations on the British National Anthem. Other commissions have included pieces for London Brass, the British Clarinet Ensemble and The Kings Singers.
In 2009 Paul’s composition All Thus Stand Light – a commission for the classical guitarist Fabricio Matos, as part of his Ivor Mariants Guitar Award from The Worshipful Company of Musicians – had its first performance. In May of the same year the guitarists John Williams and John Etheridge performed another new composition of Paul’s as part of the Music at Oxford series in the Sheldon Theatre.
Paul has also written a number of books of compositions and arrangements for flute and saxophone in the All Jazzed Up series, which are not only best sellers but have also been used by the Associated Board (ABRSM) as examination pieces.