Associate Professor: Piano
Hailed by The New York Times as “both a virtuoso with herculean technical command and a sensitive introspective artist,” Jamaican pianist Dr. Paul Shaw has appeared on three continents, inspiring appreciative audiences and music critics alike in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
A top prize-winner in the William Kapell International Piano Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Mr. Shaw has performed to high critical acclaim at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York; the Kennedy Center and the Hall of the Americas in Washington, D.C.; and Beethovenhalle in Bonn. He has appeared as soloist with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Dayton Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, Cape Cod Symphony, and Minnesota orchestras and collaborated with conductors Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, William Eddins, George Manahan, Jorge Mester, Lukas Foss, and others. He has completed two successful recital tours of Taiwan and made his second visit to Central America in August 2003, appearing in a series of recitals at the Thirteenth Costa Rica Festival Internacional de Música. In December 2004 and 2007, he was featured in Teatru Unplugged, an annual event held at the historic Manoel Theatre in Valletta, Malta showcasing international artists performing in a variety of musical genres. Shaw’s performances led the Times of Malta to describe him as “a concert pianist of towering talent.” In September 2010, Shaw became the first artist from the Caribbean to appear in recital at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China.
Born in Falmouth, near Montego Bay, Jamaica, Mr. Shaw’s interest in music began with a toy piano his mother purchased at Woolworth’s to teach him everything she had memorized from observing her guardian, a Kingston piano teacher, in secret. By age eight, he was sight-reading hymns for church services and at sixteen, he won the Howard Cooke Award for Excellence in Music, Jamaica’s highest classical music award in the annual Festival of the Arts competition.
Subsequent advanced studies with Kaestner Robertson at the Jamaica School of Music and scholarships courtesy of the Jamaican Government, French Government, and The Juilliard School, led to a ten-year affiliation with noted Greek-American pianist William Masselos, and three degrees from Juilliard – Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts. In December 2000, by special invitation from His Excellency, Sir Howard Cooke, Governor-General of Jamaica, Dr. Shaw returned to his homeland as honored guest artist in the King’s House Concert.
Dr. Shaw honors his commitment to inspiring the next generation by mentoring pianists at the University of Minnesota School of Music in Minneapolis. He has conducted lectures and master classes at numerous colleges and universities across the United States of America and abroad, and participated in outreach programs under the auspices of the Lincoln Center and Van Cliburn Institutes. In the Spring of 2004 he was selected by the International Scholar Laureate Program, based in Washington D.C., to serve as Faculty Advisor to forty-five elite music students from universities across the United States of America on an inaugural educational tour of the European birthplace of classical music: Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and Budapest. Dr. Shaw was re-engaged to lead subsequent tours in the spring of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Since 2010, Shaw and musician friends from Japan, China, South Korea, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States of America have been engaged in a series of collaborative concerts – in New York (2010), Hiroshima (2013), Paris (2014), and Tokyo (2015) – to promote world peace and discourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons. On April 6-8, 2016, he and his colleagues, under the leadership of harpsichordist and Hiroshima native, Yasuko Mitsui, convened for a Hiroshima Music Summit for Peace as a precursor to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Summit on April 10-11 and in anticipation of the historic first visit of a sitting US Head of State, President Barack Obama, who laid a wreath at the cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on May 27, 2016.
Paul Shaw can be heard on compact disc in solo recitals of classical music: Live from New York, It's Paul Shaw; Caribbean Art Music: Le Grand Tour, featured on a WQXR worldwide web-cast; and in a release on the Clarion label playing James P. Johnson’s Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody for piano solo and orchestra.
"He's both a virtuoso with herculean technical command and a sensitive, introspective artist." – THE NEW YORK TIMES
"A Champion of musical Romanticism" – GENERAL ANZEIGER
"The power, virtuosity and versatility of Shaw's playing continues to astound the listener. His dynamic range is outstanding, from the merest whisper of sound, to the powerful fortissimi which rocked the ceiling but somehow maintained the musicality which was never absent from his playing." – FREE-LANCE STAR
"Shaw demonstrated an artistic sensibility that went below the surface. Unlike some more celebrated artists, his playing was well worth the listening. A profoundly insightful performance." – EAST HAMPTON STAR
"One is drawn in by Paul Shaw's expressive delivery. The emotional impact of his artistry is superb. Schubert's Sonata in B-flat was poised and aristocratic. Shaw's phrasing was elegant, his sense of rhythm impressive and his use of color unusually compelling."
– THE WASHINGTON POST
"In what many would classify as the highlight of this Beethoven's birthday concert, Paul Shaw was a musical stylist of the first order in the Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major. Shaw was authoritative at every turn. He was solid at the bright first movement, displayed a songlike tone in the largo second movement and a feathery touch in the finale. Everything was done with a broad smile that stretched to the last seat in the balcony. What makes music pleasurable are hands and heart. Shaw has heaps of both."
– RICHMOND NEWS LEADER