Stephen H. Paulus ’71

2006 Distinguished Citizen Award

View all Distinguished Citizen Award recipients

Stephen H. Paulus is the composer of more than 300 works in genres including orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, solo voice, keyboard and opera. He has served as composer in residence for the orchestras of Atlanta, Minnesota, Tucson and Annapolis, and his work has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as by great solo artists ranging from Thomas Hampson to Leo Kottke. He has been a featured guest composer at the festivals of Aspen, Santa Fe, Tanglewood and in the United Kingdom, and is recipient of both the Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships.

Although he was already a graduate student at the University of Minnesota when he attended his first opera, Paulus has become one of today’s most respected and enjoyed composers of opera. His The Postman Always Rings Twice was the first American production to be presented at the Edinburgh Festival. His choral works have been performed and recorded by the most beloved choruses in the country including the Dale Warland Singers, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The New York Times wrote that he "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."

Paulus is esteemed by fellow composers, not only for his music, but for cofounding the Minnesota-based American Composers Forum, with 1,700 members, the largest composer service organization in the world. For the past 15 years, he has also served as the concert music representative on the board of ASCAP, protecting the intellectual property of musicians.