Just a few days ago, on 5 January 2014, Paul Hanmer’s latest work received its world premiere in Switzerland: a concerto for basset-horn and orchestra, commissioned by the Stiftung Künstlerhaus Boswil and performed by Robert Pickup and the Jugend-Sinfonieorcheter Aargau under the baton of Hugo Bollschweiler.
Born in Cape Town in 1961, Paul Hanmer began classical piano and theory lessons in 1970. After two years at the University of Cape Town studying for a BMus degree, Paul Hanmer left to work with guitarist Paul Petersen. In 1987 he moved to Johannesburg where he was influenced by bands such as Sakhile and Bayete.
In Johannesburg Paul Hanmer formed “Unofficial Language” with Ian Herman (percussion and drums) and Peter Sklair (electric bass). The trio recorded ‘primal steps’ in 1994, featuring Sklair’s song “Tender Mercies”, and a second album, “move moves” in 1996.
Paul Hanmer has recorded with Tananas, Miriam Makeba, Ray Phiri, McCoy Mrubata and Pops Mohamed and formed part of Tony Cox’s ‘Cool Friction Band’ in 1996. In 1999 he performed and recorded with Sheer All Stars and produced Gloria Bosman’s debut album “Tranquillity”.
Sheer Sound released Paul Hanmer’s first album as a leader, Trains to Taung, in 1997. The album features Denis Lalouette, Jethro Shasha, Louis Mhlanga, Basi Mahlasela, Neil Ettridge and Andre Abrahamse. Since then he has recorded five more albums, Window to Elsewhere (1998), Playola (2000), Naivasha (2002), Water and Lights (2005) and Accused No 1: Nelson Mandela (2006). A duo album featuring Hanmer with McCoy Mrubata entitled “The Boswil Concert” was released in June 2011.
Paul Hanmer has written a string quartet for the Sontonga Quartet and a clarinet quintet for Robert Pickup, principal clarinetist with the Zurich Opera. In addition he has composed a suite of duets for double bass and cello for Leon Bosch of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, completed three pieces for two tubas and accompanying instruments for Anne Jelle Visser of the Zurich Opera and Sérgio Carolino, principal tuba with the Oporto National Orchestra, and written two duets for violin and harp commissioned by Marc Uys.
He is currently finishing a commission motivated by Leon Bosch - a 'Trout'-format quintet (violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass & piano) for the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in July 2014.
Paul Hanmer was the 2012 Johannesburg International Mozart Festival Composer-in-Residence.
Paul Hanmer @ JIMF 2014
29 January 2014, Cinema Improvisando
31 January 2014, Cinema Improvisando