Paul Whittaker OBE

A black and white image of Paul Whittaker OBE signing

Polyphony Arts represents deaf musician and BSL performer Paul Whittaker OBE. For performance or conference enquiries, please contact

Paul Whittaker: BSL Interpreter

Dr Paul Whittaker OBE is the nation’s most loved and respected interpreter of music in British Sign Language. Born in Huddersfield, Paul has been deaf since birth yet has pursued a highly successful career as a musician, performer, workshop leader and inspirational speaker. For over 30 years he has been entertaining and educating people about music and deafness across the UK and beyond, at schools and colleges, conferences and theatres, courses and training events.

Paul studied Music at Wadham College, Oxford, and pursued postgraduate studies at the RNCM. He founded the charity Music and the Deaf, as well as Songs in British Sign Language, an online catalogue for signed songs. In 2007 he was awarded an OBE for Services to Music, and holds two Honorary Doctorates from the University of Huddersfield and the Open University.

Paul has had a thriving career signing musicals, operas and concerts across the UK and has worked with the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, The Sixteen, RSNO, RPO, RLPO, CBSO, Opera North, Britten Sinfonia, Bozar Brussels, and many other orchestras and ensembles. In 2011 he joined the Feel the Music project with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, visiting cities around the world including Lucerne and Hong Kong, along with the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. During the pandemic Paul created many BSL videos for schools, music services and choirs including the Stay at Home Choir, NYCOS, Friday Afternoons, Yorkshire Youth and Music and others.

Paul is a Consultant and Adviser for the charity Decibels, and an Ambassador for Lollipop York. He continues to run a number of signing choirs and is in high demand as a festival adjudicator. Paul continues to raise awareness, challenge preconceptions and break down barriers in his career as an engaging and entertaining speaker.


2021-22 Polyphony Arts is pleased to offer a number of programmes interpreted by Paul Whittaker for choir and / or orchestra, including:

  • Choral works, including: Messiah and Children’s Messiah (Handel), St John Passion, St Matthew Passion (Bach), German Requiem (Brahms), War Requiem, Noye’s Fludde (Britten), A Child of Our Time (Tippett), Symphony no. 9, Missa solemnis (Beethoven), Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles, The Kingdom (Elgar), Eternal Light (Goodall), Angry Planet (Chilcott), There was a Child (Dove)
  • Vocal works, including: Winterreise (Schubert), Songs of Travel, On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams), Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (Britten)
  • Narrated orchestral works, including: Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev)
  • Operas including: Carmen (Bizet), La Bohème (Puccini), Porgy and Bess (Gershwin), La Traviata (Verdi), Cunning Little Vixen (Janaček), Magic Flute (Mozart), Orpheus in the Underworld (Offenbach), Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck), The Bear (Walton), Dido and Aeneas (Purcell), Bluebeard’s Castle (Bartók), The Happy Prince (Rylan Gleave)
  • Musical Theatre, including: Les Miserables, Joseph and the Amazing Tecnicolor Dreamcoat, Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Tell Me On a Sunday, Martin Guerre

Paul has also performed various choral pieces and renaissance works with The Sixteen and others. For a full list of repertoire or to discuss a new interpretation, please contact us.




Paul Whittaker

Songs in British Sign Language (SiBSL)


For performance enquiries or further information about Paul’s work, please contact Sarah Ponman, Artist and Project Manager.