You are here

U of M School of Music to Award Honorary Degree to Music Entrepreneur John Paulson on 5/5/17

April 19, 2017

The University of Minnesota School of Music will confer an honorary degree on John Paulson, American composer, music educator, conductor, and entrepreneur on Friday, May 5 at 7:30 pm at the U of M School of Music’s 125th Anniversary Bands Gala at Ted Mann Concert Hall. The performance features six concert bands, Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Combo, the Alumni Band, and a special appearance by the “Pride of Minnesota” Marching Band. Ensembles will perform iconic Minnesota music. The Doctor of Humane Letters is the highest award conferred by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, recognizing individuals who have achieved acknowledged eminence in their field.

“School of Music Director of Bands Emily Threinen says, “Holding John Paulson’s honorary degree ceremony at the 125th Anniversary Bands Gala concert is a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to music education and furthering music in our state. This exciting event will allow the University and the Minnesota music community the opportunity to publicly thank John Paulson for his many contributions. Very special thank you's to Professor Craig Kirchhoff, Professor Betsy McCann, Joni Sutton, and Lauren McNee for their work on this significant award.”

John Paulson graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and from the Eastman School of Music, where he graduated with a Master of Arts in Music Education. Paulson changed the landscape of music technology worldwide. His extraordinary accomplishments as a University of Minnesota alumnus and Minnesota native are unprecedented.

Paulson was active as an educator in the Minnesota public schools for nine years, the last five of which were at Wayzata High School where he directed the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble and a Wind Octet dedicated to the music of Mozart. Additionally, he taught courses in Electronic Music Composition, Class Piano, and 20th Century Music, providing new entry points for high school students interested in music.

Paulson is best known for his work as Founder and CEO of MakeMusic Inc., a company he started in 1990 to further music education with innovative, practical and useful technologies. Make Music Inc. products include Finale, the world’s best-selling music notation software; Garritan, the leading provider of quality virtual software instruments; MusicXML, the standard format for exchanging digital sheet music; and SmartMusic, interactive software featuring the world’s largest accompaniment library. MakeMusic Inc. supports over 100,000 music educators all over the world.

Paulson has participated on a number of non-profit and industry boards including The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Board of Directors, American Composers Forum Board of Directors, International Association of Music Merchants Board of Directors, Global Economic Summit of the Music Products Industry and Wenger Corporation Board of Directors. Paulson has served on the advisory boards of several notable universities and conservatories. He worked on the President’s Advisory Board with the Director of the School of Music at Carnegie Melon University to evaluate and make recommendations. At the University of Minnesota, Paulson worked with the Director of the School of Music to evaluate the music education department graduate school offerings and make recommendations. Additionally, Paulson has served as a member of the Kaufman Advisors Group at the Eastman School of Music.

Paulson has served as an international advisor for licensing music technologies. He worked with scientists from the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique Musique in Paris to develop and license various music technologies. Paulson partnered on content and licensing for exams for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

Paulson has collaborated with many world-renowned musicians, such as Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra rhythm section: including Dan Nimmer (piano), Ali Jackson (drums) and Carlos Henriquez (bass), and Sir James Galway, among others. In 2002, Paulson was awarded the Golden Clef Award from the Berklee College of Music in recognition of commitment to music education. In 2008, Paulson retired from MakeMusic. In his retirement, he continues to be active as a composer, conductor, adjudicator and clinician across the United States.