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  About • Paul Halley    

  "A perfect storm of energy and creativity in the person of Paul Halley."
- Chronicle Herald, Halifax 12/14/2009 


For information on artists who frequently collaborate with Paul Halley, click:


Paul Halley
M.A. Cantab., FRCO, ARCT

Paul Halley is a Grammy Award-winning composer, choral conductor, and organist. He is Director of Music of The Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Creative Director of the music publisher, record label, and arts management company, Pelagosmusic, which manages Halley's music catalogue.

Born in Romford, England in 1952, Paul Halley was raised in Ottawa, Canada where he received his early musical training as a chorister and assistant organist with The Men and Boys Choir of St. Matthew's Anglican Church. At age sixteen, he was made an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto. Awarded the organ scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, Halley received his M.A. with prizes in compostion and performance, and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, winning first prize in the College examinations. Following four years of post-graduate work as a church musician and teacher in Montreal, QC, Jamaica, W.I. and Victoria, BC, Halley was appointed Organist and Choirmaster at The Cathedral of St. John The Divine in New York City where he served for twelve years from 1977-1989. During his tenure at St. John the Divine, Halley collaborated with The Paul Winter Consort, contributing as principal writer and keyboardist to multiple Grammy Award-winning albums released in the 1980's and 1990's.

Following his departure from the Cathedral in 1989, Halley settled in rural Connecticut and founded the children’s choir, Chorus Angelicus, and the adult ensemble, Gaudeamus.  In 1999, Halley became Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church, Torrington, CT where he inaugurated a Choral and Organ Scholars program in conjunction with Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music.  In 2007, Halley relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia to become Director of Music at both the University of King’s College (to December 2021) and St. George’s Anglican Church (to 2011), as well as University Musician at Atlantic School of Theology (to 2015).  In 2015 Halley became Director of Music at The Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax, a position he held in conjunction with his work at King’s, providing many opportunities for collaboration between the two institutions Although retired from King's, Paul continues to inspire as Director of Music at the Cathedral and hopes to expand the Cathedral's current music program to include a new concert series.
Halley’s choral and instrumental compositions are distributed internationally by Pelagos Incorporated, the recording, music publishing, and arts management company which he established with his wife, Meg Race in 1998.  Halley’s compositions have been commissioned or licensed by such organizations as Sony Entertainment, John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra, CBC, The Toronto Symphony, and Canadian Brass.  In addition to a regular output of liturgical music, Halley composes three to four new, commissioned works per year.

Among the Pelagos recordings which feature compositions and arrangements by Paul Halley:  Nightwatch, a reissue of Halley’s landmark 1982 organ improvisation album, recorded on the Great Organ of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine;  Sound Over All Watersa compilation of Halley’s choral works and arrangements for gospel singer, Theresa Thomason, and Keramion Singers; Triptych, Halley’s keyboard works for the unique trio of piano, pipe organ, and harpsichord, recorded at Spivey Hall in Atlanta; Untraveled Worlds, a compilation of world music repertoire presented by Chorus Angelicus; and What Child Is This?, comprising a curated selection of new and less familiar Christmas repertoire. A new recording entitled In The Wide Awe and Wisdom, a two-CD set comprising sixteen of Halley's recent choral compositions, is the newest release from Pelagosmusic. This spectacular new recording features performances by Keramion Singers, Paul Halley, Director.

Paul Halley and his wife, Meg Race, an artist, live on the South Shore of Nova Scotia where they enjoy exploring the waters of Mahone Bay in a traditional Cape Cod catboat which rejoices in the name, "Magnificat", as well as a dinghy, "Nunc Dimittis", a Rangeley Lakes guideboat, "Dragonfly", and two canoes which, at this point, remain nameless.

St. Matthew's Choir of Men and Boys circa 1963

Paul Halley is age 11, fourth from left,
second row of boys standing, with ruff but no medallion (yet),
and in smaller photo, age 13 or 14 as Head Boy and Assistant Organist.

"The Boys of St. Matthew's"
St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Ottawa, ON

For 50 years, St. Matthew's Anglican Church has been singing praises of its choristers who have grown up to be leaders in music, literature, sciences and the ministry. The secret of their success? Margret Brady of the Ottawa Citizen finds out with interviews prior to the Fiftieth Anniversary concert in 2007 at which many of these former choristers came together to perform and reminisce. Click here for more on these remarkable choristers as they were interviewd in 2007. Remarks by Paul Halley, Gerald Finley, Rev. James Beall, Peter Mansbridge, Daniel Taylor, Matthew Larkin and others.

Paul Halley, Chorister and Assistant Organist,
St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Ottawa - 1961-66.

Remarks by Paul Halley for the 2007 Interview with The Ottawa Citizen

Treble in boys' choir from 1961-'66, assistant organist in his teenage years.

Now: In 2007 (for interview) multiple Grammy-Award-winning composer, conductor, pianist, harpsichordist and organist. Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church, Torrington, Connecticut. Moved to Halifax during the summer (2007) to become director of music at St. George's Anglican Church and King's College Chapel.

Most vivid memory: A two-week canoe trip to Algonquin Park with fellow choristers Kim Muma, John Proudfoot, Chris Johnstone, Michael Walley and Don Barber led by men's choir baritone Michel Landry. Kim injured his back running along slippery boulders. Landry and Chris carried the injured boy away on a hastily assembled stretcher, eventually flagging down a train for help. The three remaining 13-year-olds were left to fend for themselves. A thunderstorm came up as they solo-canoed across a lake and they saw a mystical glow in the distance caused by the emergency braking of the train.

"Camping in the park that night with no adult supervision was frightening, exciting and a life-defining experience," he says.

Career aspirations: "I knew by age 11 that I wanted to be a cathedral organist. However, I found the atmosphere at Cambridge too rarified and when I graduated in 1973, decided to teach English in Nigeria with CUSO (Canadian University Services Overseas)." (Political unrest made this impossible and Halley went to Jamaica to teach English and music instead.)

Choir's influence: "I can't think of anything that had an equivalent impact and not a day goes by when I don't reflect on the quality of education under St. Matthew's musical directors Gerald Wheeler and Brian Law. It was far deeper than my education at Cambridge."



Paul Halley playing Rufatti organ
at Spivey Hall, Atlanta

Conducting choirs and orchestra
at St. Anne Church, Waterbury

Directing Chorus Angelicus
from the keyboard

In rehearsal
King's College Chapel, Halifax

Enjoying a sail

Sporting Tilley hat

Writing music
on a stone wall




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  About • Paul Halley