Paul Goodwin


Paul Goodwin is renowned for his historically informed interpretations of music of all periods, his wide repertoire and his interest in contemporary music. He has a great passion for incorporating period style within the traditional orchestral world and creating idiosyncratic and dynamic programs. He is Artistic Director and Conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival in California and Principal Guest Conductor of Capella Aquileia in Heidenheim, Germany.

Paul has a wide symphonic repertoire conducting orchestras throughout the world, such as :  the BBC Philharmonic, the Hallé Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the UK; the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the US; the National Orchestras of Belgian, Spain, Poland and Taiwan, the Rotterdam, Auckland, Helsinki and Royal Stockholm Philharmonics and the Bayerischer, Hessischer, NDR (Hannover), and MDR (Leipzig) Rundfunkorchester in Europe.

In opera, Paul’s successes have included Iphigenie en Tauride at the Komische Oper Berlin, Rape of Lucretia at the Teatro Real Madrid and Orlando at Scottish Opera and Opera Australia, and Handel’s Jeptha at Welsh National Opera.

Recent highlights have included San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Les Violons du Roy, Utah Symphony, National Taiwan Symphony, Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, WDR Rundfunkorchester Koln, Münchner Rundfunkorchester and Handel’s Riccardo Primo with Staatstheater Karlsruhe. In the 2015/16 season Paul conducts the Ulster Orchestra, New World Symphony Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and conducts Messiah with the Hungarian State Opera.

For 11 years Paul was the Associate Conductor of the Academy of Ancient Music with whom he toured extensively and made recordings of Schutz choral music, Mozart’s singspiel ‘Zaide’ and two discs of music by John Tavener, commissioned for the AAM.  Three of these CDs were nominated for Grammy (USA) and Gramophone (UK) awards. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra for 6 years, collaborating with artists such as Kiri Te Kanawa, Joshua Bell, Maria João Pires, Mstislav Rostropovich and Magdalena Kozena.  He has recorded CDs of Strauss, Hartmann, Handel’s Riccardo Primo and Athalia, and a highly acclaimed CD of Elgar's Nursery Suite for Harmonia Mundi.  With the Münchner Rundfunkorchester he has recorded two CDs for Sony: one that includes Prokovief Peter and the Wolf and the other, “under the stars”, in collaboration with violinist Charlie Siem.

Paul’s dedication to educational projects has led him to work with National Youth Orchestras in Spain and Holland, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonic, the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, as well as the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and the orchestras of the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music, London. For many years he was a regular visiting conductor for the Queen Elisabeth Competition Brussels.  In 2007, Paul Goodwin was awarded the Handel Honorary Prize of the City of Halle (Saale) in recognition of his extraordinary services to performances of works by George Frederic Handel.

February 2016 – This biography must not be edited without the permission of Askonas Holt Ltd.

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  • Rehearsing with Charlie Siem and the Munich Rundfunkorchester



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Concert 07 November 2015

New World Symphony, Miami

"There was nothing stodgy or metronomic in Goodwin’s reading. Every movement was replete with character and myriad instrumental details brought to the fore that usually go unnoticed. He was unafraid to take liberties with tempos and to bend a phrase to expressive ends. Goodwin’s balancing was so deft that even a single flute was audible over the full string section.
           Two horns and two trumpets seated on opposite sides of the stage produced bracing antiphonal dialogue. The famous Air was refreshingly unsentimental and brisk with firm rhythmic footing from the harpsichord and lower strings while the Hornpipe was taken at a more formal clip. The courtly final Menuet concluded a performance that gleamed from first to last. The precision and bite of the violins throughout was especially notable." Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review

Concert 11 April 2015

With The Philadelphia Orchestra

The revelation piled up in the Beethoven, starting with a brisk opening that was a noble march rather than a bog. Goodwin is known for his historically informed performance practices, and while there are limits to what he can do with modern equipment like Philadelphia's, he did plenty. Clearing textures by carefully managing balances, limiting string vibrato selectively, and heeding exact note lengths let an ensemble sound bloom that is rare to hear in Verizon Hall. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 April 2015
One of the finest concerts of the season...From the very first notes of this work [Mozart Posthorn Serenade] Goodwin had served notice that he is a conductor of phenomenal gifts. Known especially for his expertise in the field of early music (though he has also recorded some excellent Elgar performances), he showed his colors on this occasion by demanding practically vibrato-less playing from the violins, without descending into the kind of harshness that sometimes results from such execution. But it was with the Beethoven overture that Goodwin’s mastery first fully made itself felt. Klemperer’s view of the work, with its characteristically Beethoven solemn march, its mysteriously dramatic transition, and its brilliant conclusion along Handelian fugal lines, reflected the spacious stylistic approach of the mid-20th century. Goodwin was altogether more radical, stripping the piece of any trace of pompous rodomontade, and the result was an unbridled and irresistibly intoxicating jamboree. Seen & Heard International 11 April 2015

Concert 29 January 2015

With the San Francisco Symphony

Goodwin is a particularly energetic conductor, capable of using the full scope of his body language to summon expressiveness at the finest level of detail. His “finest hour” came at the end of the program with Mozart’s K. 297 (“Paris”) symphony in D major...Goodwin seemed very much in his element in leading the SFS musicians in this symphony. He worked with a string section that was reduced but still larger than he had been using in the earlier portions of the program. Mozart was clearly going for a grand sound in this symphony; and Goodwin was determined to provide enough musicians to achieve that grandeur (and balance against the bold contributions from timpani and trumpets). Even for concert-goers familiar with the breadth of Mozart’s orchestral writing, this performance was one for the books.

The Examiner

That balance was struck particularly nicely at the beginning and end of the program. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 made its presence felt early, in a bright-toned rendition of the Overture...Goodwin set the steady tread of the bass line and the gentle unfurling of the main melody in telling opposition to one another. Mozart’s “Paris” Symphony, in a performance that was both exuberant and emotionally probing, brought the concert to a handsome conclusion.

Auckland Concert

With the Auckland Philharmonia

Haydn's Military Symphony provided a breezy launch for Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's Thursday concert. Conductor Paul Goodwin was obviously inspired by the composer's endlessly inventive high spirits, especially when an innocuously pretty slow movement was rocked by blasts of percussion. After interval, Poulenc's 1948 Sinfonietta offered a generous slice of Gallic charm school. The Frenchman does sanction a few gruff outbursts in his opening Allegro but, in general, tunefulness rules, with Goodwin's generous baton work drawing out lush, swooning sequences.

The New Zealand Herald



The Philadelphia Orchestra

“Goodwin gave a surprisingly well-integrated rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus" - it came out more in a single stream than a series of exalted episodes - though the contrasts he brought to the "Since by man came death" chorus were, by Handelian standards, explosive. Not every conductor is able to build an overall arc in Messiah, but Goodwin can.” The Philadelphia Enquirer, December 2012



Welsh National Opera

“Both chorus and orchestra reaffirm their credentials as exponents of the baroque repertoire, responding warmly to Paul Godwin's incisive conducting.” The Guardian, 1 October 2012

CONCERT 31 May 2012

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

"Under the crisp, energetic direction of English conductor Paul Goodwin, the orchestra tackled a couple of large-scale undertakings and gave everyone present a refresher on what's so wonderful about Bach and Handel...Goodwin proved himself a master musical chemist in concocting a "Suite of Sinfonias"...It all flowed together splendidly, thanks not only to Goodwin's editing acumen, but also his infectious joy in presenting the music." Pioneer Press, 31 May 2012

Concert 29 January 2012

Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo

“This symphony [Mozart No 47] was played with exquisite elegance under the direction of an English baroque conductor, who is not only called Paul Goodwin, but who also proves to be very 'good'. Nice-Matin, 30 January 2012

Concert 20 January 2012

Nuremburg Philharmonic Orchestra

"Guest conductor Paul Goodwin and the Nuremberg Philharmonic played with great musicality and variation in this programme. In Haydn’s ‘Funeral Symphony’, the orchestra played with solemnity and with a fine tone. In contrast Haydn’s D major symphony was sparkling and joyful right to the end." Nurnberger Zeitung, January 2012

Concert 10 December 2011

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

"Acting as spirited guides for a whirlwind tour through the evolution of orchestral literature from 1682 to 1739, early music master Paul Goodwin and the orchestra presented a tremendously enjoyable concert...The high-energy conductor is such an enthusiastic advocate for the music that it spread like an electric current through both orchestra and audience.” St Paul Pioneer Press, December 2011


St Matthew Passion

National Theatre

"there were several moments when, catching sight of Goodwin conducting – in the thick of it with singers and musicians – I saw that he, too, is completely included, his baton as much an actor's gesture as a pointer to the orchestra." The Observer, 25 September 2011


St Matthew Passion

National Theatre

"Conductor Paul Goodwin draws some finely detailed, idiomatic playing from Southbank Sinfonia." The Independent on Sunday, 25 September 2011.


St Matthew Passion

National Theatre

"Urgency and immediacy are their watchwords. Much aided by the translation which Goodwin has compiled through years if working with singers - this they certainly deliver...Miller and Goodwin generate massive momentum through the application of that time-honoured mantra: less is more." The Independent, 20 September 2011


St Matthew Passion

National Theatre

"The young members of the South Bank Sinfonia play with conviction, conducted alertly by Paul Goodwin, who has compiled and edited a crisp English translation" The Evening Standard, 20 September 2011.