Paul Epstein

Composer
American, 1938-
Born in Boston in 1938, Paul Epstein is a graduate of Brandeis University and the University of California at Berkeley. His composition teachers included Harold Shapero, Seymour Shifrin, and Luciano Berio, with whom in studied on a Fulbright grant to Italy in 1962.

Epstein’s compositions include works for string orchestra and for a variety of small ensembles. In recent years he has written extensively for voice. His setting of Robert Coover’s short fiction The Leper’s Helix was commissioned by the Rel?che ensemble. And he has undertaken a series of collaborations with poet and novelist Toby Olson that includes Chamber Music: Three Songs from Home; Dorit, a chamber opera premiered in 1994 by The Temple University Opera Theater; BirdSongs for voice and piano; Reading, commissioned for baritone Thomas Buckner and premiered in San Francisco in 1997; and a second, recently completed chamber opera, Chihuahua.

In addition to performances in Philadelphia by Rel?che, Network for New Music, and Orchestra 2001, Epstein’s music has been presented in the U.S. and abroad by such ensembles as Synchronia; the Circle ensemble of London; ONIX Nuevo Ensamble de México; and the Topology ensemble of Brisbane, Australia. It is available on compact disk on the Mode and Capstone labels.

Apart from his concert music, Epstein has been involved in closely collaborative work with artists in theater and dance. He was associated with the New York environmental theater group The Performance Group from 1969 to 1972, and from 1974 to 1987 he was composer and music director for ZeroMoving Dance Company of Philadelphia.

Epstein has contributed articles and scores to such journals as The Musical Quarterly, The Drama Review, and Arts in Society. From 1975 to 1982 he was music editor of The Painted Bride Quarterly. He has taught at Tulane University and, since 1969, at Temple University, where he is Professor of Music Theory.

—biography courtesy of the composer

Selected works by Paul Epstein:
“Music is the best means we have of digesting time. ”
--W. H. Auden