About

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Paul Cravens (b. 1989) is a composer and church musician from Minnesota. He received his undergraduate degree in composition from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), where he studied with Daniel Breedon and Steven Makela. Paul went on to earn his M.A. from the University of New Hampshire with Andrew Boysen, Jr. Following his studies, he briefly served as the music director at Faith Lutheran Church in his hometown of Hutchinson, Minnesota. He now resides just outside the Twin Cities as a freelance composer and musician.

At the core of Paul’s portfolio are his works for concert band, including his two symphonies. In 2017, Symphony No. 1 was selected for the National Band Association’s Young Composer & Conductor Mentor Project, where its third movement received a performance by the United States Air Force Band. In 2020, Paul completed Symphony No. 2, entitled Chromosphere, for a consortium of eight college and high school bands across the country. More recently, Paul has been expanding his catalog to include young band, orchestral, and choral pieces. New works premiered in 2022 include Overture in B Flat (concert band, 2nd edition), Daybreak (concert band), The Triumph of Hope (concert band), At the Feet of Jesus (choir & orchestra), and an arrangement of What Child Is This? (choir & orchestra).

A number of higher learning institutions have collaborated with Paul, including: the College of Wooster, Concordia College, the Ohio State University, Southern New Hampshire University, St. Olaf College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of North Texas. Paul has also worked with Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Brunswick High School, Charlotte Catholic High School, Epping High School, Fergus Falls Secondary School, Hutchinson High School, Manchester Central High School, Manchester Memorial High School, NRHEG High School, Pinkerton Academy, Spaulding High School, and Staples-Motley High School, as well as multiple churches.

Paul’s music is an intensely emotional experience, featuring strong, inevitable melodies supported by rich harmonies and lush orchestration. He crafts lean forms despite a tendency toward longer works, seeking to make a profound statement with each and every phrase. His influences, while diverse, nevertheless combine to shape a fresh styling of classical music for the twenty-first century.

Short bio, suitable for program notes:

Paul Cravens (b. 1989) is a composer and church musician from Minnesota. He received his undergraduate degree in composition from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), and went on to earn his M.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Paul’s music is an intensely emotional experience, featuring strong, inevitable melodies supported by rich harmonies and lush orchestration. He crafts lean forms despite a tendency toward longer works, seeking to make a profound statement with each and every phrase. His influences, while diverse, nevertheless combine to shape a fresh styling of classical music for the twenty-first century. Paul lives just outside the Twin Cities with his wife, and loves connecting with people over music.

Photo by McGowan Media

Paul’s main focus is composing new music. He has been commissioned by bands, orchestras, and choirs; no ensemble is too large or too small to accommodate. His sheet music is sold on J.W. Pepper, Sheet Music Plus, and Sheet Music Direct. Many pieces are also available for direct sale by request (electronic delivery only), and free scores are available by request for perusal.

In addition to composing, Paul is available to clinic with students and ensembles – for a new or an existing piece. For groups local to Minnesota, he is often able to attend rehearsals, conduct, give feedback, and answer questions in-person. Video chats are an option for either local or long-distance clients.

Through the use of high-fidelity virtual sound libraries, Paul has added the capability to make his own lifelike recordings in-house. The sound files can be useful in performance preparation for a conductor or ensemble, but are also one more way Paul is able to share his music with the general public outside of concerts. These recordings are available via Bandcamp.

Lastly, Paul is passionate about live music, (solo or in a group), and has played for weddings, funerals, anniversary parties, etc. His main instruments are piano, guitar, and low brass (as well as voice). Please reach out if Paul can help fill out your ensemble’s sound at the next concert or event. He is also an experienced worship leader in evangelical protestant churches.

You can find Paul on Facebook, YouTube, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud.

Photo by McGowan Media

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

Johann Sebastian Bach