Paul Frehner


Paul Frehner’s music has been described as having: 

“…the excitement of an abstract expressionist canvas done impasto, where hot oil-colours are laid on the surface very thickly and spread by exhuberant strokes of a painting-knife, smoothly as a heat wave, thick and gritty as a sandstorm, evanescent as an evening breeze,” Stanley Fefferman, OpusOneReview…..  

totally vibrant and alive with imagination… a psychedelic affair, akin to trying to find the time of day on Dalí’s melting clock,” Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto

Born in Montreal in 1970, Paul Frehner completed his Doctorate in music in 2004 at McGill University where he studied composition with Denys Bouliane. During his Master’s degree at McGill, completed in 1998, he studied composition with Brian Cherney and orchestration with Bengt Hambraeus. 

Paul Frehner’s works have been commissioned and performed by an array of outstanding artists, ensembles, orchestras and opera companies including Almeida Opera, Aldeburgh Productions, Soundstreams Canada, Continuum New York, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, The TSO, the Esprit Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Choir, Aventa Ensemble, the Prague Philharmonia, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra, The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra,  the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, pianists Brigitte Poulin and André Ristic, the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Le Trio Fibonacci and the Quasar Saxophone Quartet. 

In 2001, he was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation to compose Sirius on Earth, a one hundred-minute opera based on a libretto by Angela Murphy. Co-produced by Almeida Opera and Aldeburgh Productions, Sirius on Earth was premiered in the 2003 during the Almeida Opera Festival in London, England. It was subsequently toured to Aldeburgh where it opened the 2003 Proms season in Snape Maltings concert hall. 

Paul Frehner has received numerous awards at the national and international level for his compositions, including First Prize in the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra's International Composition Competition for Overture 2000, First Prize in the Prague Philharmonia’s Symphony of the Third Millennium Composition Competition (2001) for his orchestral work Elixirs, Second Prize in the Genesis Prizes for Opera (2003), a Finalist Award in the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra’s International Composers Award competition (2004) and the Claude Vivier National Award in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s International Composition Competition for Lila (2007).  Recently, in 2012 he was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Classical Music administered by the Ontario Arts Council. 

Paul Frehner is on the Faculty of Music of Western University where he teaches composition, orchestration, electroacoustic music and is the Director of CEARP, the faculty’s state-of-the-art electroacoustic music production studio.

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