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Paul Paccione

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Paul Paccione


Paul Paccione (b. 1952, Brooklyn, N.Y.) is an American composer.

Dr. Paccione’s love of the popular music of the 1950s and '60s awakened his initial musical interests. While studying classical guitar, at the Mannes College of Music (B.M., 1974), his first-year music theory teacher, composer Eric Richards, first introduced him to the world of modern music – inspiring and encouraging him to begin composing. This, in addition to Paccione’s own desire to express himself in sound, led to his decision to begin studies in music composition. He shortly thereafter began private composition studies with composer Harley Gaber. He continued his composition studies at the University of California, San Diego (M.A., 1977), and studied composition, privately, with composer Kenneth Gaburo. He later studied composition with composer/conductor William Hibbard, at the University of Iowa (Ph.D., 1984) and was Hibbard's assistant at the Center for New Music. It was by way of Hibbard’s impeccable ear for pitch relationships and orchestration that Paccione first began to discover his own compositional voice. Intermittently, he studied composition with Pauline Oliveros, Bernard Rands and Ralph Shapey.

Other than his teachers, the composers of the twentieth-century whose music and thought have had significant influence on his own music and thought include: Igor Stravinsky, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Morton Feldman, and John Cage. In addition, Paccione has maintained a sustained interest and attachment to the vocal music of the Renaissance, particularly English Renaissance music.

He is an active composer whose works are widely and frequently performed, both nationally and internationally. In December of 2014, Western Illinois University’s Opera Theatre Company presented the first performances of Paccione’s opera The World Is Round, based on the book by Gertrude Stein.

He has lectured and written numerous articles on various aspects of modern music and particularly on the interplay of cultural conditions and compositional thought in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Dr. Paccione joined the music faculty at Western Illinois University in 1984 where he is Professor of Music Theory/Composition. He regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Music Theory, Music Composition, Musical Analysis, Counterpoint, Materials of Twentieth/Twenty-first Century Music and History of American Music. During his teaching career at Western, he has received six Faculty Excellence Awards and was named the 1988 Outstanding Teacher in the College of Fine Arts. He was named Western Illinois University's Distinguished Faculty Lecturer for 2002 - the first Music faculty member to do so. His lecture was subsequently published in the music journal ex tempore. He received the Outstanding Creativity Award from Western’s College of Fine Arts in 1988 and 2012. He is co-founder and co-director of Western's annual New Music Festival, now in its thirtieth year.

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