Prof. Paul Barker, PhD, M.Mus, GGSM

Job title

Professor of Music Theatre, Course Leader MA Music Theatre


Paul Barker is a composer, pianist, director and author. He has worked internationally with singers as composer, MD and coach in opera, musicals and concerts across many genres and styles. His book, Composing for Voice, was published by Routledge in 2004. His work reflects commonality between the disciplines of music and theatre and he has particular interest in actor musicianship, for example with the Brodsky String Quartet and clarinettist, Joan Enric Lluna. Stone Song; Stone Dance for Tambuco percussion ensemble has been played extensively across five continents. He also works regularly with actors as instrumentalists. El Gallo, one of sixteen operas, commissioned by Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes (Mexico), has received over 100 international performances since 2009 and has been released on CD and televised. He is a Research Consultant for Toshiba Research in Cambridge and on the advisory board of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies. Prizes include the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize. He was Artistic Director of Modern Music Theatre Troupe (UK), and Optemus (Mexico), co-founder and first Chair of Opera and Music Theatre Forum. He has worked at RCSSD since 2005 where he is Professor of Music Theatre and course leader of MA Music Theatre.

Research areas

  • Music
  • Composition
  • Theatre
  • Voice
  • Text
  • Chamber music theatre
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Lyric Theatre

PhD supervision across the areas of composition, opera, theatre, music, voice and performance.

Funding awards

  • AHRB award 1998 for web-based opera research and development: The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit"
  • Over 50 composition commissions from public and private institutions internationally


He is currently working on Sex on Sticks, a music theatre work for soprano Katalin Karolyi and Tambuco percussion ensemble; And the Woman I Sing, a melodrama for actress Zoe Lister, her avatar and pianist Alban Coombs; NATYA, a concerto for piano and strings; Seven Songs of Hope, a documentary concert performance for clarinetist Joan Lluna and small ensemble.

2013 Crest Network, My Voice and Me (composer/pianist) 
2013 Musical Moments for Clown and Pianist (Marcelo Bereh with Alban Coombs, Tête-aTête Festival
2012 Nous Sons’12, Barcelona (Composer & Director)
2009 El Gallo on tour in Chicago, Oporto, Brighton, Cadiz, Mexico, (composer & conductor )
2008 & 2012 El Progreso de Pedro and Paraphrase: La Malinche, two CD releases of piano music played by Ana Cervantes


Music Theatre, MA

Other Details

2015 With One Voice: Disambiguating Sung and Spoken Voices Through a Composer’s Experience, Voice(s): Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience, Routledge; contributory chapter
2015 The Business of Composing Opera, The Business of Opera, ed. Derek B. Scott, Ashgate; contributory chapter
2013 Can a computer-generated voice be sincere? A case study combining music and synthetic speech, Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology
2010 Theatre and peace; Performing arts and peace, Young, N (ed.) The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace, USA, Oxford University Press; Two articles.
2004 Composing for Voice, Routledge
2002 Devising - A Practical Guide, Ed. Bicat and Baldwin, Crowood Press 2002; contributory chapter

Compact Disc recordings

2011 El Gallo, Quindecim
2004 Entre Palabras, Quindecim
2000 Turquoise Swans, Sargasso