One of the most prominent and prolific composers of our time, Stephen Paulus has written over 400 works which have received premieres and performances throughout the world. Critics from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Opera News have hailed him as a "bright, lyrical inventor whose music pulsates with a driving, kinetic energy." He is a recipient of both NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships.
Beginning in 1979, fresh out of graduate school with a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, he was commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and has now written 10 operas with performances coming from Boston Lyric Opera, Washington Opera, Minnesota Opera, Sacramento Opera, The Berkshire Opera Company, and many others. He is now at work on three new operas which will be premiered in the 2011-2012 season.
With 55 orchestral works to his credit, Paulus has been distinguished to serve as a Composer in Residence with the orchestras of Atlanta, Minnesota, Tucson and Annapolis. Conductors who have premiered his works include Osmo Vanska, Christoph van Dohnanyi, Kurt Masur, Sir Neville Marriner, and Leonard Slatkin. Current orchestral commissions include a violin concerto for the Cleveland Orchestra and William Preucil, a "Jazz Concerto" co-written with his son, Greg, for the Minnesota Orchestra as well as organ concertos for the Phoenix Symphony and the Portland (Maine) Symphony.
Paulus has written over 150 works for chorus ranging from his Holocaust oratorio, To Be Certain of the Dawn, recorded by Minnesota Orchestra on the BIS label, to the poignant anthem, "Pilgrims' Hymn," sung at the funerals of Presidents Reagan and Ford. His works have received thousands of performances and recordings from such groups as The New York Choral Society, L.A. Master Chorale, Robert Shaw Festival Singers, VocalEssence, Dale Warland Singers and countless others.
Notable works for vocalist and orchestra include commissions for Thomas Hampson, Deborah Voigt, Samuel Ramey and Elizabeth Futral. Instrumental soloists range from Doc Severinsen and Leo Kottke to Robert McDuffie, William Preucil, Lynn Harrell and Cynthia Phelps.
Paulus is a passionate advocate for the works and careers of his colleagues. He co-founded the American Composers Forum in 1973, the largest composer service organization in the U.S., and has served as the Symphony and Concert Representative on the ASCAP Board of Directors since 1990. He currently co-chairs the Symphony and Concert Committee and serves on other committees such as Survey and Distribution, Law and Licensing as well as Marketing and International.
In 2008 he founded the ground-breaking ASCAP Composer Workshops to present career-enhancing seminars throughout the U.S. He has been a featured speaker and panelist at the ASCAP EXPO in L.A. each year. His most recent world premiere was Trio Concertant: An Archipelago of Moods for Clarinet, Violin and Piano, presented by STRATA at Merkin Hall in New York City on November 21, 2010. Performances in January and February of 2011 include his Double Trumpet Concerto with BMOP and four performances of his opera, The Postman Always Rings Twice at Boston University.