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Paulo Brandão was born in Lisbon in 1950, and began his musical studies at the age of four, at the Fundação Musical dos Amigos das Crianças. In 1965, he attended the Academia de Amadores de Música and, shortly afterwards, the National Conservatory, where he graduated in horn and composition. He also attended various courses and seminars, both in Portugal and abroad, in choral conducting and composition (with Peter Sefcik, Germany; Michel Corboz, Switzerland; Vassili Arnaudov, Bulgaria; Gunther Toring; Anton Rubev, Bulgaria; Bernard van Beurden, Netherlands; Manuel Cabero, Spain).
His work Colecvisufonia I was selected for the ISCM World Music Days 1987 in Helsinki. Estigma and Acqueos Fire were selected for the Budapeste Festival (1986) and Amsterdam (1989). Many other of his works have been regularly performed in Portugal and abroad.
In the context of the connection of music with other arts, he has written scores for theatre, cinema and dance, winning the prize of the Portuguese Association of Theatre Critics for the best theatre music in 1992, for the soundtrack for the plays Os Cavaleiros da Távola Redonda and Onde está a Música?, both productions by the Teatro da Malaposta. He is Professor of Choral Singing and Harmony and Counterpoint at the National Conservatory of Lisbon. Since 1997, he has been a member of the ensemble Camarata da Cotovia, as singer and instrumentalist. Paulo Brandão has been artistic director of the Públia Hortênsia Choir since 1973, the Arsis Vocal Group since 1989 and the choir Ad Divitias since 1999.
"Looking at many things I’ve done, the paths I’ve taken are really very marked by different experiences. (…) And these paths, which cross at some point, I’m not sure where, are all different but they follow the same line as my thinking and my way of writing. This is interesting, because, though to begin with I was very much influenced by the 2nd Viennese School (…), I soon afterwards began to appreciate sound for its own sake, and began to work with polytonality and pantonality. Looking back, perhaps the one has to do with the other (…)"