Dr. Herbert Pauls
Herbert Pauls grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan. As part of a 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, not a particularly easy undertaking in rural surroundings before the age of the internet. When he was 10, he spotted Harold C. Schonberg's The Great Pianists on his piano teacher's shelf and asked to take it home. It left an indelible impression and served to permanently help shape his musical outlook. When he was 11, he begged his parents to subscribe to the Time Life Records series of four-LP sets on the great composers, which eventually totaled 30 albums. For the next 3 years, an eagerly awaited installment would arrive in the mail every six weeks, an event that remains one of his fondest childhood musical memories. 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 related to a compromised ulnar nerve in the right arm, a condition which had dogged him since the age of 13, eventually forced him to put aside his piano dreams 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 approximately 80 of their CD releases.
Dr. Pauls currently lives in Winnipeg with his wife Elation (a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra) and their two children.