Pianist Paul Carlson has dedicated his performance career to presenting concerts with unique programming. He appears frequently as a solo recitalist and also as a collaborative musician. Freshness characterizes his programs, which strike a careful balance between the familiarity of great music of the standard repertoire, and the exciting discovery of new or neglected works. He performs frequently with the Lexington Symphony (Massachusetts), with whom he has played solo concertos by Amy Beach and Darius Milhaud under the batons of Jonathan McPhee and Anthony Princiotti.
Dr. Carlson’s unique programming includes championing new music and the utilization of visual media. His "Armistice Day" program synchronized The Seige of Tripoli, a 19th-century American "battle piece" by Benjamin Carr with projections of the original programmatic text. He paired Sports et divertissements, a collection of miniatures by Erik Satie, with images of Satie’s verbal texts and the original accompanying art-deco illustrations. Music of living composers also forms an important part of many of his recitals, as in his premiers of works by Boston-area composers Hayg Boyadjian, John McDonald and Marti Epstein. Also a composer, Paul Carlson’s volume of original compositions for organ is available from GIA Publications. His Sicilienne fugitif for oboe and strings was premiered in May of 2012 by the Lexington Symphony Chamber Players.
Dedicated to music accessibility and audience engagement, Dr. Carlson often accompanies his recitals with short lectures. He has presented papers at American Musicological Society New England Chapter meetings as well as for local music clubs. The research component of his doctoral work at Boston University focused on the piano performance style of Claude Debussy, including extensive analysis of early sound recordings. In addition to frequent programming of Debussy, he has a special interest in other music originating in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially unfairly neglected works. Very much in this vein, his new CD features the First Piano Sonata by Charles Ives and the Preludes by Ruth Crawford Seeger. It was released earlier this year and is now available online through all the major outlets.
Dr. Carlson received a Bachelor of Music degree from Gordon College, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Boston University. His teachers include Tong-Il Han, Raymond Hanson, Maria-Clodes Jaguaribe, Boris Berman, Fred Broer, Saul Skersey and Marjorie Richie. He has taught at Gordon College and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. He also serves as President of the Chromatic Club of Boston, a 125-year-old club dedicated to presenting some of the most talented emerging musicians in the Boston area. At present he lives in Watertown, Massachusetts, and teaches at the Lexington Music School.