Department of Performing Arts: Music
Paul French, Professor of Music
Dr. Paul French received the Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California at Berkeley and Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Music from the University of Southern California. After teaching and singing in the Los Angeles area for twelve years, French joined the music faculty at Southern Oregon University in 1990, where he is currently Director of Choral/Vocal Studies and Artistic Director/Conductor for Southern Oregon Repertory Singers.
French has extensive professional experience as singer, conductor and educator. Ensembles under his direction have performed to acclaim at prestigious six-state conventions such as the American Choral Directors Association Northwest Convention (1994, 2002), the American Guild of Organists Northwest Convention (1997), and the Oregon Music Educators National Conference (2002, 2007). French has performed as tenor soloist at major music festivals such as the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and has conducted for leading musical organizations including: Rogue Opera, Jefferson Baroque Orchestra, Northwest Bach Ensemble, Chelan Bach Festival, and the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra. A great advocate of contemporary music, French has commissioned and premiered over 40 new choral works and is also active in performing rare and seldom-heard compositions. In 2006, French conducted the west coast premiere of Robert Levin’s new edition of Mozart’s grand “Mass in c minor”, a performance praised by Willene Gunn, Director Emerita of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Opera Program as: “measuring up to anything I have heard in any concert hall.. anywhere." In recent years, French has devoted special attention to the performance of Renaissance and Baroque music, and his performance of the Bach “Mass in b minor” was described as “beautiful and inspiring” by internationally known soprano, Julianne Baird. In 2012, iconic composer Morten Lauridsen praised French and the SOU Chamber choir as “brilliant and superb… in the top rank of university chamber choirs in the United States." French has led tours to Mexico, Germany, and the Czech Republic, and made his National Public Radio debut with the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers performing on “West Coast Live” for an estimated one million households nationally and Internationally. French has served on the boards of MENC and ACDA and is Past President of ACDA, Oregon.
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