Thursday, July 11, 2013

Holding good thoughts for composer Stephen Paulus

Greg Paulus (l) and Stephen Paulus (r)
Photo by John Whiting
This photo of composer, producer, and musician Greg Paulus and his father, composer Stephen Paulus, dates from late August 2011. It was taken at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis during a rehearsal of "TimePiece," a new work for jazz soloists and orchestra written by Greg and Stephen that would open the Minnesota Orchestra's 2011-12 season.

Stephen gave us permission to attend the rehearsal and handed me a score when we arrived so I could follow along. He was warm and welcoming and generous.

I'm posting this photo here and now because on July 4, Stephen Paulus - St. Paul-based composer of operas ("The Postman Always Rings Twice"), chamber music, choral pieces, music for orchestra and more,  over 450 works to date - suffered a stroke.

On July 9, when his family went public with the news, he was in critical but stable condition in a Twin Cities hospital, in a medically induced coma. Today he was able to breathe on his own - a positive sign.

The family is journaling his progress on a CaringBridge page, and friends are leaving messages of support.

You can hear several of Stephen's compositions on Spotify, but not "TimePiece." You used to be able to download that from the Minnesota Orchestra's website, but during the labor dispute that resulted in the lockout of the orchestra's musicians on Oct. 1 and continues to this day (with no end in sight), downloads were removed, so it's no longer available.

His choral works seem especially appropriate now, like the lush, hushed and luminous "Loving-Kindness."

May he recover fully. There's more music to be written.

Related: Behind the scenes of "TimePiece for Jazz Soloists and Orchestra" by Stephen Paulus and Greg Paulus

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