Paul Schoenfield

Place of Birth
Detroit, MI

Paul Schoenfield, composer and pianist, fulfilled both roles for the May 12, 2008, world premiere of his second MOR commission, Ghetto Songs, a work based on the poetry of the beloved Polish "troubadour," Mordecai Gebirtig, murdered in the Krakow ghetto. His first MOR commission, Camp Songs, was a chamber music setting of five poems written by the political dissident Aleksander Kulisiewicz, while imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp during World War II. Recorded on MOR's first CD, Art from Ashes, Vol. 1 (Innova), Camp Songs was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Music. (The disc itself was nominated for a 2003 Grammy Award.) Born in 1947 in Detroit, MI, Schoenfield studied piano with Julius Chajes, Ozan Marsh, and Rudolf Serkin, and holds a degree from Carnegie-Mellon University, as well as a Doctor of Music Arts degree from the University of Arizona. He has lived on a kibbutz in Israel and was a freelance composer and pianist in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. As a composer, Schoenfield has received commissions and grants from the NEA, the Ohio Arts Commission, Chamber Music America, the Rockefeller Fund, the Minnesota Commissioning Club, American Composers Forum, Soli Deo Gloria of Chicago, and many other organizations. Though he rarely performs now, he has toured the United States, Europe, and South America as a solo pianist and with ensembles. Among his recordings are the complete violin and piano works of Bartok with Sergiu Luca. His compositions can be heard on the Angel, Decca, Innova, Naxos, Vanguard, EMI, Koch, BMG, and New World labels. Paul Schoenfield's music was first heard at a MOR concert in November 1999, which featured the West Coast premiere of Sparks of Glory. He joined MOR's Advisory Board in January 2000.