Paul joined the MN Sinfonia as its clarinetist in 2011 after playing as a Sinfonia sub/extra for three years prior. He has been a member of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra since 1991 (bass clarinet, co-principal clarinet, and now principal clarinet) and is an active freelancer.
“Playing with the Minnesota Sinfonia has been a wonderful experience. There’s nothing more enjoyable than making great music with friends for appreciative audiences. Being a composer, I particularly enjoy the Sinfonia’s Minnesota New Works program; what fun to premier some fantastic works by local composers!”
Graduating summa cum laude with a music performance degree in clarinet and horn from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Paul has also received his Master of Music degree in horn performance from Arizona State University. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas, where he teaches private bass and contrabass clarinet students.
Outside of music, Paul works full-time as a software engineer/database administrator. He lives in southeast Minneapolis with his husband Steve and his two Shih Tzu, Sibelius and Stravinsky.
A word about his clarinet…
I did not choose the clarinet; it chose me! My first instrument was the piano, which I started learning at age three – my mother had been a church organist in high school, so she taught me basic keyboard skills when I started showing interest. My second instrument was the French horn, which I chose as my band instrument in 5th grade and played through a Master’s degree.
My sister, who is two years younger than I am, chose the clarinet as her band instrument. After my sister’s first year of playing the clarinet, our family moved from Ann Arbor, MI to Raleigh, NC where kids start music a grade later. My sister didn’t want to repeat a year, so she gave me her clarinet, and I taught myself how to play it (picking up some unfortunate bad habits that took future teachers a bit of time to break).
In the 11th grade I bought a bass clarinet at the flea market and I was hooked. I owned that instrument for four years before upgrading to a professional low C bass clarinet, an instrument I still have. Over the years, I have acquired a variety of clarinets of various sizes, include a contra-alto, a contrabass, and a little e-flat clarinet that I call “Squeaky.” Bass clarinet is my favorite instrument to play because it’s so easy and versatile.