By hosting composer Stephen Paulus on campus, Winona State University orchestra director Paul Vance is fulfilling a vision he’s had since coming to the university.

Paulus, an internationally acclaimed composer from St. Paul, is visiting WSU as an artist in residency this week as part of the music department’s Music Gala Weekend, which features several of Paulus’ pieces.

Vance said Paulus is a knowledgeable, approachable musician and looked forward to meeting students and members of the community and hearing his work performed at the gala. Vance has long had a goal to bring Minnesota composers to WSU, he said.

“It’s exciting for me to have Stephen Paulus on our campus because it is the fulfillment of a vision I have had since coming to WSU,” Vance said. “Hosting Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus — two internationally acclaimed Minnesota composers.”

Larsen was invited to WSU in 2008, and composed a piece for the Winona Symphony Orchestra in observance of that ensemble’s centennial and the WSU sesquicentennial.

The gala also has a lot of meaning and impact for the department and its students. Jazz studies director Rich MacDonald said April is the busiest time of the year for the department, with nearly a quarter of the department’s concerts taking place, so it was natural to combine several of those performances to highlight the work of the department’s musicians.

“It’s kind of a big deal,” MacDonald said. “The thing that is most exciting about the gala is the opportunity for the public to hear all our large ensembles. They can take in as much as they want.”

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