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Paul Steenhuisen


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Paul Steenhuisen (Vancouver, Canada, 1965) was raised in Vancouver by parents from The Netherlands and Curaçao. The confluence of his heritage and upbringing in North American culture has informed both his education and musical output. In addition to earning his doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia under the direction of Keith Hamel, Paul Steenhuisen studied with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Hague, privately with Michael Finnissy in London, England, and with Tristan Murail at IRCAM (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris). Between 1998 and 2000, Paul Steenhuisen was composer in residence with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and in 2003, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Alberta. During his student years, Steenhuisen was laureate of many national and international composition competitions, including 4 awards in the CBC Young Composers competition, 7 awards in the PROCAN/SOCAN competition, 1st prize in the Vancouver New Music competition, and as finalist in the Gaudeamus Competition (Netherlands). He was also awarded the Governor General of Canada Gold Medal as the outstanding student in all faculties at the University of British Columbia. Since that time, Steenhuisen has been active internationally, at festivals and on radio. His music has also been performed at each of the major Canadian festivals, including the Sound Symposium, Montreal Nouvelles Musique, the Massey Hall New Music Festival, Open Ears, The Winnipeg New Music Festival, and the Vancouver International New Music Festival. Performances at other international festival include those in Adelaide, Sydney, Darmstadt, Ought One (Vermont), and Three-Two (New York), while on radio, his music is regularly performed in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. Recognizable by its intensity of expression and variety of colour, his music attempts to actively engage, inspire, and challenge the listener to hear music in new ways. Technically this is achieved through circuitous and labyrinthine formal designs, dense textures with vast depths of field, dynamic extremes, the wide-ranging interconnection of materials, and an approach to orchestration based on traditional approaches to instruments and irreverence for its conventional limitations. These interests have also been translated into his electroacoustic music -- a medium attractive for its expansion of musical boundaries and difference of instrumentation and performance situations. Paul Steenhuisen serves on the executive of the Canadian League of Composers, is president of the Canadian Section of the ISCM, and is a member of the Morningstars Hockey Club. He is also a regular contributor to The Wholenote magazine.


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