BSL Performer Paul Whittaker

Born in Huddersfield in 1964, Paul Whittaker has been profoundly deaf all his life yet pursued a career as a musician. A pianist and organist, he has a music degree from Wadham College, Oxford, a postgraduate performance diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music and holds ALCM and ARCO diplomas.

In 1988, he founded Music and the Deaf, a charity to help deaf people enjoy music, which he ran for 27 years. In 2007, he was awarded an OBE for Services to Music and he also holds honorary degrees from the University of Huddersfield and Open University.

For the past 13 years, Paul has been working with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra on their Feel the Music project, visiting many different countries around the world introducing deaf children to orchestral music. In 2023, he was invited to work with the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin on a project involving deaf children and adults and in 2024 will work with an ensemble in Malmo on a similar project.

Since May 2015 he has been working freelance as a motivational speaker, signed song performer and workshop leader, and currently runs several signing choirs across the UK.

Paul has signed many musical shows and concerts, and performed with The King’s Singers, Tenebrae, Dunedin Consort, VOCES8, the Royal Liverpool, Royal Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Halle orchestras, with Children’s Classic Concerts and at many festivals, including the Cumnock Tryst and BBC Proms. He is delighted to be returning to the RSNO after joining them last November for James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio.