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Stephen Paulson headshot while holding bassoon


Office 315

Courses Taught

Applied Lessons

Bassoon Studio Class


BM, Eastman School of Music


San Francisco Symphony, Principal


What is your hometown?

Plainview, NY

What is your favorite recording?

Mahler: Symphony No. 9, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Cooking and hiking with my family.

Who were your major teachers?

K. David Van Hoesen.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“Don’t bite the reed!”

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“How does technique relate to musical communication?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

Following the score while listening to a record of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring when I was in high school.

What was a turning point in your career?

My first professional job was playing second to my teacher, K. David Van Hoesen.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Good question. There aren't too many jobs where one is surrounded daily by the most brilliant and interactive people in the field.

What is your daily practice routine?

I start with tone and intonation exercises.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Three are far too few to name. There are so many composers whose works are inspiring on the deepest level. The point is to fully commit to what is being played on any given week.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

Vienna, 1910.

What are your most important collaborations?

The woodwind section of the San Francisco Symphony.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (SFS Media)

Sibelius Symphonies, Nielsen Symphonies, Orff's Carmina Burana (London/Decca)

What is your unrealized project?

To be able to compose again. My last piece was written at the age of 21.