Dr. Herbert Pauls
Herbert Pauls grew up on a dairy farm in rural Northern Saskatchewan. The sixth child of a large musical family, he learned to read notes and play by ear at an early age but did not begin formal piano lessons until the age of 8. Gifted with absolute pitch and insatiable musical curiosity, he progressed rapidly, and was already achieving marks over 90 in advanced Royal Conservatory practical examinations before reaching his teens. Also in his pre-teen years, he began what was to become a life-long habit of collecting musical scores and recordings. At 14, he began regular 2 1/2 hour commutes to the nearest university city, Saskatoon, in order to study with the British pianist Robin Harrison, head of piano at the University of Saskatchewan. By the age of 17 he was playing works such as Beethoven's Sonata No 32, Liszt's Sixth Rhapsody, and Scriabin's Fourth Sonata. While studying with Harrison, he developed a comprehensive technique and studied a large literature including Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, Liszt's Dante Sonata and Chopin's 24 Etudes.
Throughout his youth he won numerous prizes in local competitions and competed at the provincial level in the senior category from age 14 onward. In 1990, he also competed in the Canadian National Music Festival finals. During his undergraduate years in Saskatoon, he accompanied numerous upper-year student recitals and many local competition entrants, gave a number of recitals, both solo and with many of Saskatoon's best professional musicians at regular events such as Saskatoon's Music at the Mendel series and the Rites of Spring festival. He also appeared in CBC regional broadcasts. From 1998 to 1999 he studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto with Boris Lysenko (former head of piano at the Leningrad Conservatory).
Insurmountable physical problems eventually necessitated a change in direction, and in 2004, Herbert completed a Masters in Musicology (University of Toronto) with full scholarship, specializing in music theory. From 2005 to 2008 he studied and worked abroad, teaching English as a second language in Rostock, Germany, where he also started doctoral work with Prof. Dr. Hartmut Möller. He was awarded a Phd in historical musicology (magna cum laude) in 2014 for his 500-page work Two Centuries in One: Musical Romanticism and the Twentieth Century. He also works as a translator for the German CD company SPEKTRAL Records, and is responsible for the English versions of the booklets (3000 to 5000 words each) for over 60 of their CD releases.
Dr. Pauls currently lives in Winnipeg with his wife Elation (a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra) and, in yet another change in direction, has recently been devoting much of his time to raising their two children, born in 2008 and 2012. Besides that, he is a sessional piano instructor at Canadian Mennonite University (2008 to present) and also likes to read, practice his instrument, and enjoy his large collection of musical scores, books, and 10 000 CDs. Future plans include writing a number of articles and publishing a shortened version of his dissertation.