Breaking: Top composer cuts back over alcohol issues

Breaking: Top composer cuts back over alcohol issues


norman lebrecht

June 05, 2019

The Welsh composer Paul Mealor, who wrote the hit motet Ubi Caritas et Amor for the 2011 Royal Wedding, is stepping back from his professional engagements to deal with mental health problems.

He has sharply reduced his duties at the University of Aberdeen, following concerns expressed by some students.

Mealor, 43, told the local newspaper:



“I have been very fortunate to enjoy the types of opportunities for my work that do not come the way of a composer and conductor very often.

“As a result, I have found myself saying ‘yes’ to more and more requests, which I was immensely flattered to receive and which were simply too good to turn down.

“At the same time, I have a full-time teaching schedule at the university and, although I am passionate about both roles, I have been trying to keep afloat a hectic and unrealistic schedule.

“This has taken a toll on my mental wellbeing and on the choir I lead. In the last few months, I’ve not managed that in the way that I would wish.”

He added: “I am grateful to both my colleagues and students who have raised concerns about my wellbeing.

“Taking a leave of absence from the university for several weeks has allowed me to reflect upon the pressures I have faced and the ways in which I have been dealing with them.

“Regrettably, alcohol had become more of a crutch to me than it should and this had been adversely affecting my life and my work.”



  • R. Brite says:

    Very commendable of him to be so upfront and matter-of-fact about the drinking problem and other mental health issues. These are things that can be treated, and should not carry the stigma they so often do.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The term ‘top composer’ used to invoke quite different associations.

  • Norbert says:

    Well done – and he’ll be a better composer for it.

    The idea of the storm-tossed Beethoven genius (which he was….a genius) is simply unobtainable to most mortals.

    Calm, clear headed intellectual organisation is the foundation to subsequent inspiration, and i hope he finds that.

  • John Rook says:

    Good for him. May he return stronger.

  • PHF says:

    I love the tabloid headline, also the tabloid cover citation. Top composer because he wrote a music for a royal wedding? Hahaha… some times I don’t get your “quality” standards. Obviously, I wish him well.

    • Chorister says:

      “top composer” could be construed as “top selling” — his choral music is very well known and often performed, and probably his publisher(s) consider(s) him a “top composer”

  • Eve Kersley says:

    How sad that such a talented man has become a victim of his own success.Lets hope he is soon restored to full health.

    • John Rook says:

      With the best will in the world, he is a victim not of his success but of his own behaviour and has had the lucidity to recognise that.

  • William Evans says:

    Why headline ‘Alcohol Issues’ yet ignore the underlying mental health problems that are likely to have precipitated the drinking?

  • Bill says:

    I wish him all the best