Paul Joseph Kohler
Paul Joseph Kohler

A virtuosic twist on Gershwin tunes will highlight the concert by pianist Paul Joseph Kohler at the Arizona Senior Academy on Tuesday (Feb. 11) at 11:30 a.m.

The program will feature the “Seven Virtuoso Etudes on Themes of Gershwin” by Earl Wild, selections by contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Paert, as well as some of Kohler’s own works including improvisation.

Kohler is currently a student of Paula Fan, Regents Professor of Music, working toward a master’s degree in music at the University of Arizona.  He completed his undergraduate degree in music and philosophy at Utah Valley University in 2010.

Beginning music studies at the age of 12, Paul showed a gift for the piano, organ and composition.  During his teen years he composed numerous works for piano and also for organ, cello and unaccompanied choir.

He went to school off and on during his 20s while continuing to compose, improvise and play the piano.  He studied piano mostly on his own, though he did have opportunities to study with Michael Lobberegt of the Mozarteum, Sofia Rosoff (protégé of Abby Whiteside), and Steinway Artist Hilary Demske.

He compares his path to that of past musicians whose families encouraged them to pursue more practical means of employment, but the call of music was too strong to be ignored.  Finally choosing to complete a music degree, he recognized that he’d really been a musician all along, but it took a while to accept that and what it meant for his life.  He now regards music as a calling.

Submitted by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer

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Gershwin-Inspired Work Featured in Piano Concert: Feb. 2014
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