Queen’s composer to teach music to Newham youngsters

A famous composer who regularly performs in front of the Queen is to work with school children in Newham learning to play an instrument.

Paul Carroll, who grew up in the borough, has been appointed Composer in Residence for the Commonwealth Children Orchestra and Choir.

The role will see the 57-year-old writing classical music for year six pupils across Newham schools, who are learning to play instruments such as the piano, violin, guitar and bassoon. The job is initially for three years.

Mr Carroll said: “I’ll write interchangeable but cohesive parts, so pupils can join in and out of different sessions if they miss one part. The music is designed to be accessible for children and give them something to get their teeth into.

“Each school has a number of children studying music and the idea is to make some schools a hub for other schools to come to for the classes.”

Mr Carroll, who went to East Ham Grammar School for Boys, became a choir boy at St. Bartholomew’s Church, East Ham, aged nine while his father began teaching him the piano. “I then began earning serious money from weddings,” he said.

Mr Carroll later studied bassoon and piano at Newham Academy of Music, where he developed an interest in Vivaldi when he discovered the composer had written 39 bassoon concerts.

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He also played in both the Newham Youth Orchestra and Newham Symphony Orchestra.

After graduating from the Royal College of Music Mr Carroll wrote popular music for shows at Theatre Royal Stratford East. He also worked for 15 years as an organist and choirmaster at St Mary Magdalene Church in East Ham.

He said: “I have a great affection for the borough because of my past and it’s very important children in Newham have an opportunity to play in an orchestra.”

Mr Carroll is also composer in residence and artistic director for the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra, which regularly performs in front of the Queen, who is the orchestra’s patron. The orchestra also played for the British government’s opening parties ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Stratford.

This year Mr Carroll conducted music to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. One event saw a choir from St Winefride’s Primary School in Manor Park invited along by Mr Carroll to perform in front of the Queen and Prince Philip at Marlborough House in Westminster.