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
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
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.
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
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
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
Capital Brass and Percussion Ensemble
- Liner notes: A Paul Hill Chorale Christmas