Photo: Rolf K. Wegst
Classical guitarist Paul Bowman is one of today's passionate avatars of new music for the guitar. Over 50 works have been written for him by composers such as John Eaton, Ursula Mamlok, Charles Norman Mason, Craig First, Alain-Michel Riou, Dorothy Hindman, Keith Carpenter, Easley Blackwood and Yehuda Yannay. Recent new works for either solo or in chamber settings include from composers Aaron Gervais, Nicholas Deyoe, Paolo Cavallone, Kirsten Broberg, Yehuda Yannay, Alessandra Ciccaglioni, Yotam Haber, C.P. First, Harvey Sollberger, Andrew Mead, Charles N. Mason, Katerina Stamatelos, Gregory Robin, William Neil and Jeff Nichols. Solo appearances in 2014 include at the University of Miami, University of Southern Mississippi, North Carolina State University, Winthrop University, University of Alabama, The Charlotte New Music Festival and many others. Concerts in 2015 include the University of Central Missouri and The Charlotte New Music Festival. Upcoming in 2016 includes the US Premiere of a solo work by Dorothy Hindman at Carnegie Hall.
Dr. Bowman won 1st Prize at the VIth International Competition for Classical Guitar ("Casa España") in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was a Finalist at the Guitar Foundation of America Competition in Milwaukee. Solo concert appearances include in such cities as New York, Chicago, Boston, Birmingham, Cleveland, San Diego, Durham, Champaign-Urbana, Raleigh, Milwaukee, Berlin, Darmstadt, Dresden, Cologne, Giessen, Marburg, Offenburg, Paris, Orléans, Rome, Brindisi, Geneva, Cyprus, Tokyo and Singapore, among others. Ensemble appearances with New Yorker-new music groups include The Group for Contemporary Music, The New Music Consort, Musician's Accord, The Bowery Ensemble and Ensemble Sospeso at such venues as Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Great Hall at Cooper Union and the Alliance Français. Other performances with various new music groups include CUBE, Chicago 21st Century Ensemble, Ensemble Noamnesia, red fish blue fish, notabu Düsseldorf and Ensemble Mosaik Berlin. Performances at Festivals for new music include: "Podewil neue Musik Messe" Berlin, "Tage für neue Musik" Darmstadt, "Musik Ohne Grenzen" Düsseldorf, "Nuovi Spazi Musicale" Rome, "Spring Festival at U.C.S.D.," "Encounters: the Music of Our Time" at Duke University and "FOCUS Contemporary Music Festival" at Baldwin-Wallace College. Dr. Bowman has worked closely with composers of distinction such as Elliott Carter, George Crumb, David del Tredici, Harvey Sollberger, Pierre Boulez, Roger Reynolds, Tristan Murail, Helmut Lachenmann, Matthias Spahlinger, Phillipe Manoury and Charles Wuorinen. He has also collaborated with esteemed conductors Stefan Asbury, Heinz Holliger, Harvey Sollberger, Steven Schick and Jeffrey Milarsky. Currently, he has joined forces with flutist and new music-guru Harvey Sollberger in ensemble “3 for 2" with performances at the Institute for Advanced Italian Studies at Columbia University New York, the Villa Aurelia at The Rome Academy and the "Midamerica Center for Contemporary Music" at Bowling Green State University. Also, he has engaged in highly productive collaborations with virtuoso violinist/violist Karen Bentely Pollick, and new music-mandolinist Dimitris Marinos.
He has B.M and M.M. degrees in Classical Guitar Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and a D.M.A. in Contemporary Performance from the University of California San Diego. He has studied classical guitar with Sharon Isbin and Carlos Barbosa-Lima, among others. Also, he has studied new music interpretation with flutist Harvey Sollberger, pianist Aleck Karis, bassist Mark Dresser and flutist John Fonville. Dr. Bowman has given masterclasses in classical guitar at exotic location's such as Eastern Mediterranean University in Northern Cyprus and, at the not-so exotic such as Birmingham-Southern College. Also, he has given concerts/workshops for composers - encouraging writing new music for guitar - at the Univ. of Illinois, U.C. San Diego, U.W.-Milwaukee and Bowling Green St. Univ., among others. His published recordings are found on SEAMUS, Albany, Vienna Modern Masters, Capstone, Hungaroton, Innova, Univ. Illinois Experimental Music and Mode Records. To date, he has produced a 13 C.D. box set of published and unpublished studio recordings.
PRAISES FROM COMPOSERS:
"I must state first of all that Paul is a master performer on the guitar - in fact one of the finest guitarists known to me. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with him on two occasions (he performed two different works of mine) and was impressed by his sense of musical elegance and his deep insights into style together with his incredibly developed technical skills. I must add that Paul is a person of very broad knowledge in both traditional and contemporary musical idioms".
"This commends the musicianship of Paul Bowman, whose playing I know from an exemplary set of performances he gave of my "Psalm 39" (for baritone and guitar). His account of the extremely difficult guitar part was not only accurate in every respect, but in addition furnished ample evidence of a sensible musical intelligence".
"Paul Bowman is an excellent classical guitarist - dedicated to his instrument and the new literature for his instrument".
On hearing a performance of Elliott Carter's "Changes" (1983) at N.C. State Univ. in Feb. 2011: "This is the best performance of this work I've ever heard". Stephen Jaffe, Duke Univ.
"I have heard Paul Bowman perform a wide range of music, which he does with unfailing eloquence, with an emotional and expressive engagement that is rare in my experience. His seriousness of purpose and capacity for absorbing and mastering large amounts of diverse and demanding is attested by his recordings that he has prepared, and which I assume is detailed in application. The span of his mastery - from Donatoni's steely intensity to Kurtäg's arppegiated innocence, from Sor to Albeniz, from Bach to Boulez - would seem literally unmatched by any other guitarist".
"Mr. Bowman is a sensitive musician and an excellent guitarist. He has an extensive solo repertoire spanning the centuries, but with a particular emphasis on the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has worked directly with many composers, advising them in their writing for guitar and inspiring them to bring their ideas to fruition".
PRESS REVIEWS (selected)
PAUL BOWMAN, GUITAR
“The concert had Bowman busy on all six works, four of them premieres. Exceptionally versatile musician, he negotiated a pastiche of styles with ease.
- Birmingham News, November 10, 2007
“Übrigens, er gehört der besten Gitarristen der Welt"
“By the way, he belongs among the best guitarist’s in the world"
- Rheinische Post (Düsseldorf, Germany), November 1, 1999
“It’s refreshing to know there are still courageous musicians like Paul Bowman. Unafraid to present dissonant sounds and unpredictable rhythms at a time when ‘accessibility’ is the perceived savior of new music… Bowman showed, as he did all evening, that high performance standards exist as much for new music as for old".
- The Birmingham News, May 11, 2003
"Paul Bowman faszinierte das Publikum durch meisterhafte Beherrschung des mehrstimmigen Spiels, eine nuancenreichen Artikulation, virtuose Verzierungen und sensible Gestaltung."
"Paul Bowman fascinated the audience through a masterful conquering of many layered voicings of the music, his nuances of articulation, his virtuosic Baroque ornamentation and his sensible presentation."
- Hessische-Niedersachsische Allgemeine, February 2, 2002
"Elliott Carters 'Changes' aus dem Jahr 1983 hinterlässt trotz aller Vielschichtigkeit und Komplexität des satztechnischen 'Innenlebens' den Eindruck eines Werkes, in dem sich der Komponist zurücknimmt und sich eher von dem Geist des Instruments führen lässt. Die nuancierte Anwendung diverser Anschlags und Spieltechniken erzeugt eine poetische Atmosphäre, in der die Ereignisse lediglich sanft gelenkt dahinfließen."
"Elliott Carter's 'Changes' (1983) left the impression, despite the many layers and complexity, of an inner life in which the composer steps back, is replaced and led by the spirit of the instrument itself. The nuanced usages of diverse playing techniques produced a poetic atmosphere and a gentle flowing of musical results"
` Mainz Anzeiger, February 22, 2000
"Ob lyrisch sanft ('Modinha' von Villa-Lobos) oder mit mediteranem, frühlingsverheißendem Schmeltz ('Campanas Del Alba') - die Audrucks- und Klangvielfalt riß das Publikum zu heftigem Applaus hin."
"Whether lyrically soft as in Villa Lobos' 'Modinha', or the melting sensation of a Mediterranean Spring as in Sainz de la Maza's 'Campanas del Alba, the expression and multiple sounds elicited a hefty applause from the audience."
- Giessener Anzeiger, March 25, 1997
"Überhaupt kann dieses Konzert nicht dafür gelobt werden, daß es Werken unterschiedlichster Stillrichtungen gerecht zu werden verstand, was auch die Aufführung von Bowman bewies."
"Overall, this concert cannot be praised enough. Bowman's right understanding of the different styles was matched by the performance thereof."
- Giessener Anzeiger, June 16, 1996
"Große Bandbreite der Interpretation."
" A very large bandwidth of interpretation."
- Giessener Allgemeine February 27, 1996
"Ein Konzert auf Internationalem Niveau. Mit drei Zugaben - diesmal mit klassische Werken - mußte der Künstler dem donnernden Applaus des Publikums Rechnung tragen."
"A concert of an international plateau. With three encores - this time classical works - the artist had to carry the burden of thunderous applause."
- Giessener Allgemeine January 9, 1996
"Classical guitarist Paul Bowman is an adroit interpreter of modern sensibilities."
- Ted Shen, Critic's Choice, Chicago Reader April 7, 1995
"Paul Bowman's approach to guitar playing may be described as confronting profundity and admirably interpreting this with a vast technical prowess. The virtuosic and challenging demands of his program last month were handled with much vigor and precision. We are grateful to have heard him and consider Paul Bowman a name to be remembered by colleagues and guitar lovers alike."
- Boston Classical Guitar Society, March, 1986
Photo: Rolf K. Wegst