Paul M. Dooley (pictured) is a composer, pianist, and percussionist currently working for his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Michigan, where he is the Graduate Student Instructor in Electronic Music.
He was born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA and began composing music at age 12. His work today is inspired by dance, nature and travel, and has earned praise from famed composer Steve Reich, who said Dooley has “clearly learned how to deal with the orchestra,” and the Omaha World-Herald, which wrote that his music “shimmered beautifully.”
“El Mirador” (2010), about Paul’s travels to ancient Mayan ruins in Guatemala, was named the winner of the Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble’s American Composers Competition, which resulted in a commission for that group. Dooley’s composition “Dani’s Dance” (2007) received a 2008 Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and “Encaenia” (2008) was featured in a master class with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. His orchestral work Pomo Canyon Air (2005) has been performed by five different orchestras and read by the Detroit Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.
Dooley also earned a degree in music composition and a second bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Southern California. Recent awards include a fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival and commissions from the Michigan Music Teachers Association and members of the San Francisco Ballet. You can hear samples of many of Dooley’s compositions and see copies of his scores on his website.
You can see performances of two of Dooley’s works in the embedded video windows below. The first clip shows part one of his composition “Pagoda” (2010), as performed by vibraphonist Samuel Livingston and the Yersinia Saxophone Quartet, with Robert Young, soprano sax; Zachary Stern, alto sax; Joseph Girard, tenor sax; and Daniel Blumenthal, baritone sax. (Part two can be seen here.)
In the second window, you can see cellist Paul Dywer performing the first movement of “Gradus,” a composition for solo cello in seven movements. Originally commissioned by the Michigan Music Teachers Association and written especially for Dwyer, it was first performed at the MMTA State Conference in October 2009, and received the BMI Student Composer Award in 2010. (You also can watch online videos of Dwyer playing movements no. 2, 5, 6 and 7.)