Jennifer Paull's father was born in Hungary in a region that is Slovakia today. His mother's family were directly related to Giacomo Meyerbeer, Felix Mendelssohn and Arnold Schoenberg. Her British mother met him during World War II when he was a member of the Czechoslovak squadrons of the RAF.
The discovery of the oboe d'amore, whilst an oboe student at the Royal College of Music (London), changed both her life and that of this almost forgotten, beautiful instrument to which she subsequently dedicated her own. She remains the only soloist and recording artist ever to have devoted an international career to the oboe d'amore (the alto oboe) for which she is acknowledged as being the reference for the contemporary instrument. Her lifetime has been spent in researching and commissioning works for all the rare members of the oboe family, particularly that which she made her own. She is a recording artist, lecturer, writer and publisher.
Although having performed with many of the leading orchestras in England and Europe as an oboe and cor anglais player as well as being an oboe d’amore specialist - BBC Symphony and Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic etc - the orchestral repertoire was neither where her heart beat the fastest, nor in which the instrument of her predilection was anything other than an occasional guest.
Music in all its guises as well as performance itself enabled her to explore her passion much more intensely. This extended from concerts with orchestra to solo recitals and recordings, working with composers and publishing new repertoire (for all members of the oboe family of instruments, especially the rarest of its members) and concert, artist and festival management. Jennifer Paull's book, Cathy Berberian and Music's Musings, was published in 2007 by Amoris Imprint. She has been a frequent writer for Music & Vision.
Leon Goossens, the legendary twentieth century British oboist spoke of Jennifer Paull's decision to devote her career exclusively to an instrument considered as obsolete in an interview with Melvin Harris:
'That lass has her head screwed on the right way. She's absolutely right to make the d'amore her main instrument ...
'Yes, she's right to concentrate on it as her first choice ... If you enchant people with the d'amore sound, then you'll be sure to attract composers eager to write for you. That's why she shows great wisdom by specialising. Good luck to her!'
The Melvin Harris Collection (of Leon Goossens' complete recordings)
The Music Library
University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Jennifer Paull, a synaesthete, has two sons and two daughters and lives in the Suisse Romande region of Switzerland.
Editor's inbox - a selection of letters from our readers
Paying tribute - The Editor's Quarterly Surprise
What did you say you play? - Jennifer Paull writes about her love affair with the Oboe d'Amore
What did you say you play? - Jennifer Paull writes about her love affair with the Oboe d'Amore (continued from last week)
CD Spotlight - Renaissance. 'Jennifer Paull gives sparkling performances.' The oboe d'amore revitalised - with Basil Ramsey.
Music by Jonathan Harvey, heard by Jennifer Paull. '... spiritual mind and fertile imagination ...'
Choral music by Jonathan Harvey, explored by Jennifer Paull. '... truly spellbinding ...'
Breaking Moulds: 1910, by Jennifer Paull
The homogeny of Jonathan Harvey, investigated by Jennifer Paull. '... superbly interpreted ...'
Jennifer Paull continues her investigation of musical and theatrical masks
Jennifer Paull investigates a layering of musical and theatrical masks, with the omnipresent eerie reminder of the gas mask
Universal Edition's preparations for the Mahler Centenary years (2010-2011), by Jennifer Paull
Peter Hatch's 'Wiki Mozart' delights Jennifer Paull. '... an intoxicating cocktail.'
Jennifer Paull investigates four releases of Cage's Number Pieces
Maurice Steger plays Giuseppe Sammartini, recommended by Jennifer Paull
In an occasional series 'The Musician's Guides', Jennifer Paull offers a few tips for survival when confronted with being the square musical peg in a round musical hole
Jennifer Paull pays tribute to Matthew Peaceman (1956-2008)
Both Sides of the Global Fence - James Gardner, by Jennifer Paull
Jennifer Paull writes on the 25th Anniversary of the death of Cathy Berberian
Jennifer Paull interviews and investigates the Portuguese composer-pianist
Red Herrings Spawn in Rough Blogoon Waters, by Jennifer Paull
150 years' postponement in publication of Clara Schumann's piano sonata, investigated by Jennifer Paull. '... Karen Kushner brings welcomed light ...'
On the anniversary of Cathy Berberian's birth, Jennifer Paull investigates the legendary musician's extraordinary talents in humouristic performance, and her equally astounding wardrobe
On the 40th anniversary of 'The Miniskirt Affair', Jennifer Paull sets the mood of the 1960s into which Cathy Berberian's imaginative style of recital programming shook the conventional rafters of 'classical music' through sheer daring - her legacy to music-making
Jennifer Paull questions the focus of the lens of musical history
The Clarens Connection, by Jennifer Paull
'With most reverent and obsequious apologies to all them that are heavy-laden with bassoon and shall find not rest, herein', by Jennifer Paull
On what would have been Cathy Berberian's 80th birthday, Jennifer Paull explores the life of the artist who died way too soon
The Terminology of Respect, by Jennifer Paull
Reaching Upwards: 1888, by Jennifer Paull
The Wind of Change: 1788, by Jennifer Paull
Adding to Adages about Adagios, by Jennifer Paull
On the second anniversary of Fritz Spiegl's death, Jennifer Paull looks into his witty reflection and recalls musical frustrations and fun with Fritz
Jennifer Paull pays tribute to Ifor James (1931-2004)
a triptych of articles by Jennifer Paull
Gilles Apap in India, by Jennifer Paull. '... free from convention ...'
Music for unaccompanied oboe, reviewed by Jennifer Paull. '... a masterful performance.'
Jennifer Paull tells the story of Felix Mendelssohn
A soaring Pegasus, appreciated by Jennifer Paull. '... a brilliance that makes you want to listen to it over and over again ...'
A tribute to Derek Bell (1935-2002) of The Chieftains, by Jennifer Paull
An attempt to decode his mysteries, by Jennifer Paull. 'Cage is a time-travelling machine.'
Dances by Dvorák, Brahms and Grieg, reviewed by Jennifer Paull. 'This particular mosaic of magical components is just right!'
a portrait by Jennifer Paull
A born musician. Appreciating the viola d'amore playing of Thomas Georgi, with Jennifer Paull. 'His interpretative skills are as palpitating as the sympathetic strings of his chosen instrument ...'
Capritio. Instrumental music from the 17th Century, reviewed by Jennifer Paull. '... ensemble playing at its best. O'Dette is an outstanding performer.'
Jennifer Paull marks the second anniversary on 6 May 2002 of the composer's death
Jennifer Paull investigates Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto Op 14
A man of vision. Victor Herbert, the first composer to write for film, investigated by Jennifer Paull
A musical enchantress. On the anniversary of Cathy Berberian's death, Jennifer Paull remembers the legendary singer who cast musical spells
Jennifer Paull investigates Robert Schumann's Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23
Geographical Gilbert and Surreal Sullivan, with Jennifer Paull
Wonderful walls, with Jennifer Paull
Meteorological obligati, with Jennifer Paull
Jennifer Paull pays tribute to Igor Kipnis, who died on 24 January 2002
Musical language, with Jennifer Paull
Magic moments, with Jennifer Paull
Trails and Euros, with Jennifer Paull
Women in music, with Jennifer Paull
In a new series, international musician and writer Jennifer Paull shares some of her musical memories. September 11th 2001
Jennifer Paull pays tribute to George Harrison, who died in November 2001
Oboe d'Amore soloist Jennifer Paull meanders through the maze of musical instrument names
Oboe d'Amore specialist Jennifer Paull reflects on education, liguistics and the muse
Jennifer Paull compares the American visionary composer with Spanish architech Antonio Gaudí
An overview of the oboe, with Jennifer Paull