Paul Deegan


Professor Paul Deegan had a long and distinguished career as a singer and teacher; he taught for many years at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where he became Head of Vocal Studies and directed Opera Studies and the Lieder Class. He served on the Council of the Association of Teachers of Singing (UK) and was made an Honorary Life Member in 2014. He was a founder member of the European Voice Teacher’s Association and was awarded Honorary Life Membership in 2005.

Paul was a truly inspiring teacher and the choir flourished under his guidance. In his 11 years as Musical Director, he devoted much time and energy to the choir; improving technique and musicality, selecting challenging and engaging pieces and sharing his unparalleled knowledge of the art of singing and performing as a choir. Paul became ill in early March 2020, just a couple of days after conducting a 4-hour rehearsal of the Vivaldi Gloria. He passed away on the 21st March 2020 and is very much missed. His approach to the music, his encouragement to always strive to perform to the best of one’s ability and his many words of wisdom will remain with us.




  1. Jackie O'Duiginn

    I feel so privileged to have been in the choir with Paul as our musical director. Week after week he gave so much to the choir and I was in awe of his musical genius. He seemed to have endless knowledge and I loved listening to his stories and how he was able to convey the emotion of each song to us. He was a wonderful person to be around and there will a huge vacuum in our lives. My sincere condolences to his family. Rest peacefully Paul.

  2. The members of the Ballinteer Male Voice Choir would like to offer condolences on the sad loss of your Musical Director. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers at this time of sadness.

  3. Brenda Evitt

    I met Paul and Yvonne when I visited Dublin in 2017.
    Paul was one of my late dad’s younger cousins. It was a joy meeting him and Yvonne and I was very lucky to catch up several times before returning to New Zealand. We had lots of chats about their growing up. I remembered he told me that he thought my dad was cool.
    Yvonne and family, we are all thinking of you at this sad time. Lots of love from your family in New Zealand.
    R.I.P dear Paul. I have very fond memories of our time chatting.
    Love Brenda (daughter of Bill Denton)

  4. That’s very sad news, and I would like to pass on the condolences of the Tallaght Choral Society on Paul’s death. I hope he’s not the first of many musical colleagues- it really puts social distancing in its proper perspective.
    God bless all in these trying times

    Lynn -chairperson of TCS

  5. Laura Watts

    When the time comes when we can we will lift the roof with song to celebrate his life and legacy.
    My favourite bit of any performance was the special magic that happened between when the singing stopped and the silence began. It rang out. That was when I knew we’d done great. And we would get the nod.
    Sending lots of love to Yvonne and his family.

    Rest in peace.

  6. Debby Poskanzer

    My family met Paul 55 years ago in Cortland, NY USA. He was an awesome teacher, person, role model, and lifelong friend!!!! I will look for old photos and scan. Someday I hope to hear a musical celebration of his life!!!!

  7. A true musical genius. Rest peacefully, Sir. Thank you for the music. It truly was an honour to be in your choir. 😔😔😔 🎶 ❤️

  8. Donna Callan

    I used to say to myself ‘Why do I turn up every Tuesday to a draughty school hall to get scolded for 2 hours solid’? Paul Deegan was the answer. Irascible, committed, talented, unbelievably hardworking and passionate and behind that bark, the kindest most generous heart.
    Paul, you will never be forgotten. Thanks for sharing your love of music so generously, you were an inspiration and I can’t quite believe we don’t have you with us anymore. It was an honour to know you and be taught by you, thank you. May you rest in peace.

  9. Niamh Kelly

    I’m truly saddened to hear of Paul’s passing. He was such a talented musician. Sincere condolences to his family.

  10. Patricia Cautley

    We are all bereft at the loss of Paul whose boundless talent, energy, wit and enthusiasm made each rehearsal and performance a true learning experience. His passing has left an unfillable deep void at the heart of our choir.

  11. Grainne Murphy

    RIP Paul, we were truly privileged to have you as our MD. The ultimate communicator and teacher, and so generous with your time, talent and creativity. My sincere condolences to Yvonne and family.

  12. Ben Deegan aged 9

    I am Paul’s only grandchild and I was really sad that I heard that he had died. Rest in Peace.

  13. Rest in Peace Paul
    Thank you for your kindness, musicianship and unconditonal talent shared . May you sing forever in Heaven.

  14. Helen Meehan

    Paul was an inspiration, in rehearsals he never settled and often made us squirm under his critical eye. After a successful performance however he was so generous in his praise you glowed. Such a gentleman with endless patience at practices at his home, and his homemade scones. I am conscious of such a great loss, to his family and the wider community. He will never be forgotten.

  15. Paul was such a true gentleman. He showed me such patience as I tried to sing in key.
    I really enjoyed my time in the choir and the French trip will always remain with me.
    Spike Milligan when asked how he would like to be remembered replied in two words “Well remembered” and that is how Paul will be remembered.
    An old Yiddish saying. “If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans” Very apt for the times that are in it.
    My mum passed away last year and I was given her rosary beads as a keepsake so tonight I will take them out and give them a spin for Paul and all the choir that you may all come through this and and some point you all will raise the roof in remembrance of the true master that he was.
    Gerry Sinnott


    My deepest condolences to Yvonne, Sarah, Timothy, Ben and all of Paul’s family and friends. As a member of Dublin Airport Singers I am eternally grateful to have experienced Paul’s dedication to our repertoire of beautiful music.
    He will be forever in our hearts and prayers.
    Rest in peace in God’s love, Paul. 🙏🎈

  17. Deirdre Rocks

    Paul you will be sadly missed by everyone in the choir and all who knew you We were so privileged to have had you as our choir director and your love and enthusiasm for beautiful music will live on through us May you now join the choruses of Angels in heaven Rest in Peace

  18. So sorry to hear of the death of your friend and musical director, Prof Paul Deegan RIP.
    A very sad time for your choir.
    Yours Sincerely,
    Betty Fitzgerald
    ‘Cór Geal’ Musical Director
    (based in Whitechurch, Co. Cork.)

  19. Breda O'Shea

    I only joined the choir last October & knew on the first night that I was in the presence of a powerhouse. The energy of this man, the attention to detail, the innate musicality which he gave so generously to this large choir, were awe inspiring. This was reciprocated by the respect he received from the choir, throughout the full two hours of rehearsal – no cups of tea, no chats – a tiring evening? – no, an uplifting one! All thanks to you, Paul! You will be sorely missed. Siochán siorraí duit.
    Heartfelt sympathies to Yvonne and family.
    Bresa O’Shea

  20. Kevin Carroll

    Sincere condolences from the Culwick Choral Society to Paul’s family and to the Dublin Airport Singers on the sad loss of your esteemed Musical Director. We are thinking of you all at this difficult time.

  21. Carol Maxwell

    Our dear irreplaceable Musical Director went on his final journey this morning. Hearts are broken but I take comfort in the memories of Paul Deegan’s patient and passionate efforts to share his profound knowledge of music with us, his beloved choir. There were times when he rehearsed us within an inch of our lives to be the best choral singers we could be. I could not complain. Paul’s energy and relentless dedication to detail far exceeded his age and set a standard I will look up to for the rest of my life. Paul, the memory of your shining example is caught like a star, put in my pocket and saved for a rainy day. Never to fade away.

  22. Barbara Copeland

    The choir meant the world to my late father Alan Copeland Paul arrived up to Dad’s house one day with an award for him from the Airport Singer’s for a few hours Alan was so happy Thank you Paul for lighting up his life and to Paul’s family Thank you and God Bless you.

  23. I am a better person, at least musically, having been in your presence Paul, thank you the wonderful experience of your tutelage for the last two and a half years. Sincere condolences to your dear wife and children.


    Paul was truly an inspirational leader with an underlying passion for his art. Paul was a patient teacher with extremely high standards who had an inimitable sense of humour. He was uncompromising in nurturing and developing the hidden talents of those within his sphere. He was relentless, in encouraging us both individually and collectively to strive for perfection. I am extremely fortunate and privileged to have met him, to have learnt from the very best. My heartfelt condolences to Yvonne and family. Ar dheis Dé do raibh a anam.

  25. Dear Dublin Airport Singers

    On behalf of Diva Voces choir, I want to extend our sincere condolences to your choir on the recent loss of your beloved musical director. What a sudden and shocking loss his death was for you all.

    Yours sincerely

    Celine Leonard
    Diva Voces Chairperson.

  26. Margaret Saunders

    The love everyone has for this man is a testament to his kindness and professionalism. I didn’t know him but reading about him is a privilege. Keep his legacy going. Condolences to you all! Heaven now has a legend choir master!

  27. Muireann O'Neill

    I was privileged to be part of the Airport Singers for about 2 years and being directed by Paul was an absolute honor. Paul was a genius and I never stopped saying it. I loved how he challenged us to be the best we could be, to work together, to listen to each other and he didn’t stop until it was right. I learned so so much from him and will keep his teachings and my memories of that time with me always.
    Thank you, Paul. May you rest in peace.


    We were so lucky to have had Paul as our Musical Director in DAS. .His love of Music and his insight and expertise were immense and his generosity and patience in teaching us was outstanding .
    We enjoyed his sense of humour too. We will miss him hugely .
    May he Rest in Peace with the heavenly choirs .

  29. Truly sorry and saddened to hear of Paul’s untimely death. Paul had so much to give and he did so with an abundance of knowledge, energy and (generally) patience. I’ve known Paul for over 40 years now, as he was my Singing teacher in ‘The Academy’ and I’m so sorry that this virus stole him away from Yvonne, his family and the many who loved and admired him. Singing to you all from a distance. With love, Orla

  30. Sincere sympathies to all in the Dublin Airport Singers on the recent loss of your wonderful conductor Paul Deegan. I was afforded the opportunity to sing in a quartet with your choir in Dec 2018 at Paul’s request (Schubert’s The Lord’s my Shepherd). As you know only too well he was a man of immense talent when it came to teaching, conducting, singing, coaching, composing, mentoring and encouraging to name but a few of his many gifts. No doubt his loss is greatly felt within the choir but his legacy will remain with you always. Paul has probably already started his first heavenly choir and I reckon he’s enthusing a whole new audience with the musical knowledge he so generously shared with so many while on this earth. RIP…

  31. My late grandmother Halina Wojak worked with Paul in London over sixty years ago. When she was going through a tough patch in life, it was Paul’s advice and friendship that gave her the power to carry on. We are very thankful for the kindness he showed towards her.

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