Paul Andrew Philbert MBE was born in London and studied at the Purcell School of Music from the age of 9. He began his Timpani and Percussion studies aged 15, and continued his education at Trinity College of Music, London. Whilst still a student, Paul became the Timpani and Percussion tutor at Dulwich College Preparatory School, and Benenden School for Girls (both in Kent). He took a one-year sabbatical from his studies, and teaching responsibilities to become President of Trinity College of Music Students’ Union. Having completed his postgraduate studies, he began working as a freelance musician in the UK and abroad.
In 1998 he accepted the position of founding Section Principal Timpanist with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) in Kuala Lumpur. During his time in Malaysia, and in addition to his duties as a performer, Paul maintained a close association with the Education and Outreach department of the MPO, providing individual lessons, coaching the Youth Orchestra, and undertaking masterclasses & workshops. Since his departure from the MPO in 2012, Paul has continued to perform, and educate in Asia, Europe, the USA, and South America before taking up the chair as the founding Principal Timpanist with the Chineke! Orchestra, (the first majority Black Asian and Ethnically Diverse professional ensemble to be established within Europe). In 2015 he also became the Principal Timpanist with the Orchestra of Opera North, UK. Most notably, during the spring and summer of 2016, he performed Wagner’s mammoth Ring Cycle six times.
Paul has been a guest Timpanist with many professional orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, BBC Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, the Hallé, Singapore Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, National Taiwan Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony to name but a few. In 2018 Paul moved to Glasgow and is now the Section Principal Timpanist, and a Player Director with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a Timpani Tutor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and a member of Board for Sistema Scotland, Direct Mediation Services, and Spectrum Culture Exchange.
He was awarded an MBE for services to music in the birthday honours list of H.M. the Queen, published on the 10th October 2020.