Stephen Paulus

Stephen Paulus

Composer Stephen Paulus Featured Guest at 2007 Symposium of Contemporary Music

February 2, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - One of the foremost contemporary American opera composers Stephen Paulus, will be the featured guest at Illinois Wesleyan's 2007 Symposium of Contemporary Music on Tuesday, Feb. 6 in Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall, (1210 Park St., Bloomington).

Established in 1954, the Symposium's goal is to involve students directly in performing new compositions while recognizing contemporary composers.  Over the years, guest composers have included Aaron Copland (1958), Iain Hamilton (1968), Halim El-Dabh and Olly Wilson (1970). Jean Eichelberger Ivey (1986), Arvo Part (1998), Libby Larson (2000), William Bolcom and Joan Morris (2001) and the New York New Music Ensemble (2006).

Paulus's first appearance on campus will be as a participant on the panel discussion, "State of the Art: Winds of Change in the Music World" at 4 p.m. in Westbrook Auditorium.  Other panelist will include Associate Vice President for Information Technology Fred Miller, Director of the School of Music Mario Pelusi, and Professor of Composition and Theory David Vayo.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, will also be broadcasted online.  View the Webcast.

At 8 p.m., Paulus will perform in concert and make remarks about his compositions.  Performances will include "How Sweet" and "Late Evening" from his composition Erotic Spirits, performed by IWU students Sheerya Shivers, senior voice major, (soprano) and Paul Caracciolo, junior piano performance major (piano).

The program will also include "All Things are Passing" performed by the IWU Collegiate Choir, under the direction of J. Scott Ferguson, associate professor of music and director of choral activities, "Energetic," "Dark and Austere," "Shimmering," "Melodious" and "Vibrant," from Exotic Etudes, performed by Associate Professor of Music Vadim Mazo, violin; Lisa Nelson, adjunct faculty member, viola; Amy Flores, visiting professor on violoncello and Associate R. Kent Cook, piano, with Michael Hall, adjunct faculty member playing solo viola.

Following intermission, under the direction of Linda Farquharson, professor of music, "The Three Hermits," an opera written by Paulus based on the short story by Leo Tolstoy, will be presented in concert style, as requested by the composer.

A prolific composer, Paulus has written more than 200 works in genres such as music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, solo voice, keyboard and opera has been hailed as "a bright, fluent inventor with a ready lyric gift."  His music has been described by critics as rugged, angular, lyrical, lean, rhythmically aggressive, original, often gorgeous, moving and uniquely American.

A New Yorker, he has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

The composer has also received commissions from the Houston Symphony and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, with subsequent performances by the orchestras of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, the National Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Radio Orchestra.

Paulus has served as Composer in Residence for the orchestras of Atlanta, Minnesota, Tucson and Annapolis, and many eminent conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin and the late Robert Shaw, and many others have conducted his works.

He has been commissioned to write works for some of the worlds great solo artists and has been a featured guest composer at the festivals of Aspen, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, and, in the U.K., the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals.  Paulus has also written nine works for the dramatic stage including "The Postman Always Rings Twice,"  and his works have been recorded by recorded by such choruses as New York Concert Singers, Dale Warland Singers, Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Master Chorale of Washington DC.  His music has been represented on more than fifty recordings.

As the Illinois Wesleyan's Collegiate Choir's commissioned composer for 2004, Paulus attended the premiere of his A Babe is Born during the holiday choral concert in December.

For additional information, contact the School of Music Office at (309) 556-3061.

Contact: Sherry Wallace, (309) 556-3181