American composer Stephen Paulus will deliver the address to the graduating classes at the Westminster Choir College of Rider University Commencement on Saturday, May 14, 2011. He will also be awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree.
Westminster Choir College has enjoyed a rich artistic relationship with Paulus. In April 2001, the Westminster Symphonic Choir and the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Joseph Flummerfelt, premiered Voices of Light, which the University commissioned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Westminster’s founding. In the spring of 2004, he composed Arise My Love as a gift to Flummerfelt and Westminster Choir College in honor of his 33 years as director of choral activities at Westminster.
Stephen Paulus’ prolific output of more than 200 works is represented in many genres, including music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, solo voice, keyboard and opera, has been hailed as “...a bright, fluent inventor with a ready lyric gift” by The New Yorker. One of today’s preeminent composers of opera, Paulus has written nine works for the dramatic stage. The Postman Always Rings Twice was the first American production to be presented at the Edinburgh Festival, and it has received nine productions to date.
Paulus has been commissioned to write works for some of the world’s great solo artists, including Thomas Hampson, Hakan Hagegard, 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 United Kingdom, the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals.
A recipient of both Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, Paulus is also a strong advocate for the music of his colleagues. He is a cofounder and 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.