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    Hill, Paul (1934 – 27 September 1999)

    Prize-winning brass musician and choral director from Cincinnati, Ohio, who grew up in Los Angeles and attended La Sierra College and the University of Southern California.

     

    One of his first jobs was as a band director and teacher at Loma Linda Academy, but when the choir director departed, Paul was asked to replace him, and he never looked back. 

     

    His stint as a choir director was followed by a pair of teaching positions, at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland, and Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas.  He also conducted and taught voice at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland.

     

    In 1967, he founded the Paul Hill Chorale as a venue for his students to perform in after graduation.  They made their debut at the National Cathedral with a performance of “Jesu, meine Freude” by Johann Sebastian Bach.  When the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was christened in 1971, the Choral Arts Society and the Paul Hill Chorale were asked to perform “A Free Song” by William Schuman.

     

    In 1973, the chorale went on a three-year, 27-state tour of American music in anticipation of the bicentennial.

     

    He and the chorale won an Emmy award in 1978 for their work on a televised production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera, The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore.

     

    The chorale premiered An American Oratorio by Ned Rorem in 1986.  In 1992, they commemorated their sesquicentennial with premieres of commissioned works by Libby Larsen, Ned Rorem, and Gregg Smith, and Paul received The Founder’s Award of Chorus America, the highest accolade conferred upon choral musicians in the States.

     

    A Paul Hill Chorale Christmas hit the shelves in 1995.  They ended the year with their Annual Christmas Candlelight Concert at Kennedy Center.  It was to be the maestro’s swan song.

     

    In the 1990s, complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis forced him into early retirement and Donald J. McCullough took over the group, now known as the Master Chorale of Washington. 

     

    In 1997, Columbia Union College awarded him their Medallion of Excellence.  American University recognized his contributions to choral music by giving him an honorary doctorate degree.

     

    Paul passed away on 27th September 1999.  He gave modern American music a venue and a voice, and left behind one of the most critically acclaimed choruses in the nation.

     

    Paul Hill Chorale recordings

    O Come All Ye Faithful (Frederick Oakeley/John Francis Wade)

    Arranger – Jackson Berkey

    Conductor – Paul Hill

    Organist – Sondra Proctor

    National Capital Brass and Percussion Ensemble

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Hill_%28musician%29
    2. http://articles.sfgate.com/1999-10-01/news/17701890_1_choral-arts-society-mr-hill-kennedy-center
    3. http://www.iamaonline.com/Bio/Paul_Hill.htm
    4. http://www.dramonline.org/albums/menotti-the-unicorn-the-gorgon-and-the-manticore
    5. http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=45373
    6. http://www.swau.edu/
    7. Liner notes:  A Paul Hill Chorale Christmas

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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