Paul Hanmer’s biography, net worth, fact, career, awards and life story

IntroSouth African musician
Is Musician 
Jazz musician 
From South Africa 
Type Music 
Birth 1 January 1961 
, Cape Town, City of Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Age59 years

Paul Hanmer (born 1961, Cape Town) is a South African composer, pianist and one of its foremost jazz musicians. In 1970, Hanmer began classical piano and theory lessons. He enrolled at the University of Cape Town but stayed for a short period then left to work with guitarist Paul Petersen.

In 1987 Hanmer moved to Johannesburg, where he formed Unofficial Language with drummer Ian Herman and bassist Pete Sklair. The group has released two albums, Moves Moves and Primal Steps.

Influenced by Keith Jarrett, Hanmer has worked with artists including Grammy Award winner Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Jonathan Butler, Pops Mohamed, Sipho Gumede, and McCoy Mrubata. Hanmer has recorded for the South African recording label Sheer Sounds, and has played keyboards for the Sheer All Stars.

Since 2003 Hanmer has also been composing works for classical performers: UnTsiki and Ntwazana (2003) for The Bow Project, a string quartet for the Sontonga Quartet, a wind quintet for the Mozart anniversary in 2006, a clarinet quintet for Robert Pickup, a suite of duets for double bass and cello for Leon Bosch, a piece for two tubas and drumkit for Anne Jelle Visser of the Zurich Opera, and two duets for violin and harp.

Solo discography

  • Trains to Taung (1997)
  • Window To Elsewhere (1998)
  • Playola (2000)
  • Naïvasha (2002)
  • Water and Lights (2004)

Classical discography

  • The Bow Project (2010)


  • “Pointless Breakfasts at Belem, Kensington, Johannesburg”: Michael Blake interviews Paul Hanmer, 5 May 2005 in NewMusicSA Issue 5 & 6 (2006-2007), 1-7