Born and raised in Canberra, Paul Kildea holds an honours degree in piano performance and a master’s degree in musicology from The University of Melbourne – where he is Honorary Principal Fellow and was in 2016 a Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow – and a doctorate from Oxford University.
He has written extensively on the English composer Benjamin Britten, including two books, Selling Britten and Britten on Music. In January 2013 Penguin published Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century to enormous critical acclaim, the Financial Times calling it ‘unquestionably the music book of the year’; it is now widely recognized as the best book on its subject.
In June 2018 Penguin published Chopin’s Piano: A Journey through Romanticism, which author William Boyd nominated as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, describing it as ‘beguiling, limpidly written, effortlessly learned.’ Sovereign Films (US and UK) is currently developing it as a feature film.
As a conductor Paul has worked throughout Australia and Europe and has held artistic posts with the Aldeburgh and Perth festivals, in addition to being a former Artistic Director of the Four Winds Festival in coastal New South Wales. As Artistic Director of London’s Wigmore Hall he revitalized the artistic programme, commissioning numerous works from young composers and discovering and launching a number of brilliant young artists and careers.
In September 2017 Paul returned to live in Australia and in June 2019 was announced as successor to Carl Vine as Artistic Director of Musica Viva Australia.