Mr. Paul French
Music Director, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Chicago
PAUL FRENCH has been a distinguished leader in the Chicago choral scene for nearly three decades. He has worked in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago, and in 2001 was named Music Director at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church where he leads a thriving choral program of adult and children's voices. He served as Music Director of the William Ferris Chorale from 2005-2016, in that time establishing it on the professional choral scene as the premier ensemble for breathing life into works of lesser-known and living composers. His 2015 performances of the early 20th century Requiem Masses of Ildebrando Pizzetti and Bonventura Somma were hailed as one of the Top Ten Performances of the Year by the Chicago Classical Review, with critic Lawrence Johnson proclaiming. "French and his singers provided glowing and deeply felt advocacy to these beautiful, neglected works".
Mr. French studied composition, conducting, chant and organ at St. John’s University, Northwestern University, the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra in Rome, and privately with William Ferris. A composer of more than 200 instrumental and choral works, he is the Director of Choral Recordings for World Library Publications, for whom he is also the editor of a series of choral works for children’s choirs, under the distinguished banner of the American Federation Pueri Cantores.
For over ten years he served as a faculty member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians Choir Director Institutes. Stepping in at the last moment for an indisposed Christopher Bell, Mr. French conducted a concert of the Grant Park Apprentice Chorale, a program which was webcast world-wide by radio station WFMT on their Dame Myra Hess Concert Series.
Mr. French was commissioned to create Fanfares and Alleluias for the recent papal visit of Pope Francis to the U. S. in 2015. Another of his works, Concertato on Grosser Gott, was performed for the papal visits of both Pope Francis (2015) and Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.