composer

Composer Stephen Paulus has been hailed as "...a bright, fluent inventor with a ready lyric gift." (The New Yorker) His prolific output of more than two hundred works is represented in many genres, including music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, solo voice, keyboard and opera. Commissions have been received from the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Houston Symphony and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, with subsequent performances coming from the orchestras of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Radio Orchestra. He has served as Composer in Residence for the orchestras of Atlanta, Minnesota, Tucson and Annapolis, and his works have been championed by such eminent conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Christoph von Dohanyi, Leonard Slatkin, Yoel Levi, the late Robert Shaw, and numerous others.
Paulus has been commissioned to write works for some of the world's great solo artists, including Thomas Hampson, Håkan Hagegård, Doc Severinsen, William Preucil, Cynthia Phelps, Evelyn Lear, Leo Kottke and Robert McDuffie. Chamber music commissions have resulted in works for The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Friends of Music at the Supreme Court, the Cleveland Quartet and Arizona Friends of Chamber Music. He has been a featured guest composer at the festivals of Aspen, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, and, in the U.K., the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals.

As one of today's pre-eminent composers of opera, Paulus has written eight works for the dramatic stage. The Postman Always Rings Twice was the first American production to be presented at the Edinburgh Festival, and has received nine productions to date. Commissions and performances have come from such companies as the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Washington Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Berkshire Opera Company, Minnesota Opera, and Fort Worth Opera, among others, as well as many universities and colleges.

His choral works have been performed and recorded by some of the most distinguished choruses in the United States, including the New York Concert Singers, Dale Warland Singers, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Robert Shaw Festival Singers, New Music Group of Philadelphia, Master Chorale of Washington DC, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and dozens of other professional, community, church and college choirs. He is one of the most frequently recorded contemporary composers with his music being represented on over fifty recordings.

A recipient of both Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, Paulus is also a strong advocate for the music of his colleagues. He is co-founder and a current Board Vice President of the highly esteemed American Composers Forum, the largest composer service organization in the world. Paulus serves on the ASCAP Board of Directors as the Concert Music Representative, a post he has held since 1990.

Paulus' music has been described by critics and program annotators as rugged, angular, lyrical, lean, rhythmically aggressive, original, often gorgeous, moving, and uniquely American. He writes in a musical language that has been characterized as "...irresistible in kinetic energy and haunting in lyrical design." (Cleveland Plain Dealer) "Mr. Paulus often finds melodic patterns that are fresh and familiar at the same time....His scoring is invariably expert and exceptionally imaginative in textures and use of instruments." (The New York Times)

Performances

Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 22, 2011
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 7, 2003

News and Press

[Concert Review] A double dose of BMOP

For classical music nerds, the term ‘Double Concerto’ might likely bring to mind Vivaldi’s many works for pairs of violins or other instruments, or for the more romantically-inclined, Brahms’ Double Concerto for violin and cello. But there are many examples in the 20th and 21st centuries as well, for all kinds of instrument combinations. Last Friday night, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project gave a diverse sampling of the genre entitled Double Trouble, featuring four works composed between 1938 and 2010.

Miss Music Nerd Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP tackles double concertos with trouble

The double concerto, pace Brahms, is a creature of the Baroque era, really a special version of the concerto grosso with a concertino of only a couple of players blending with and emerging from the ripieno. The restructuring of large-scale composition around sonata form deprived composers of the natural recurrences of melodic strands that fueled the concerto grosso, making solo concertos a more logical way to achieve timbral contrast within the continual-development process of the more modern forms; yet, some Classical-era composers could not let go.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP has no trouble with multiple double concerti

Virtuosity, in its traditional sense, is musical performance at its most outgoing; the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s Saturday concert — “Double Trouble,” a quartet of double concerti — revealed a plethora of extroverted strategies. The plurality of styles was a showcase for the flexibility of conductor Gil Rose’s group, switching channels with ease, burnished and rhythmically rigorous in a program marked by wide-ranging gregariousness.

The Boston Globe Full review
[CD Review] Stephen Paulus: The Five Senses, Windows of the Mind

Admit it: You giggled when someone who certainly was no James Earl Jones whined out Peter and the Wolf or Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait with your local community orchestra. Even worse was the suffering through the uppity soprano who mangled Pierrot Lunaire while you were in music school. And don’t even get me started on the past-Weillian spoken chorus work in Blitzstein’s Regina.

Sequenza 21 Full review
[Press Release] BMOP releases 10th world premiere CD - Stephen Paulus: The Five Senses

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), under artistic director and conductor Gil Rose, is pleased to announce the release of the world premiere recording Stephen Paulus: The Five Senses, featuring Janet Bookspan, narrator, on Arsis Audio. This release marks the tenth CD from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in less than three years. "BMOP's recordings have become an important part of the organization and it's very exciting to be releasing our tenth CD," comments Rose.

Full review