Paul Frehner

Associate Professor
Director - CEARP
Office: TC 339
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x85335

Paul Frehner is a composer who, over the course of his career, has enjoyed great success in composing music for the concert stage in a wide variety of contexts. Ranging from expressionistic and evocative to exciting and gritty, his works often reflect the existential and experiential aspects of human life, both in society and in humanity’s complex relationship with the natural world.

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 New Juilliard Ensemble, the New Music Ensemble of the Glenn Gould School of Music, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, The TSO, the Esprit Orchestra, The HPO, 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 international and national awards 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). In 2012 he was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Classical Music administered by the Ontario Arts Council. In 2019 he was nominated by the OAC for the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Prize in Classical Music.

In the winter of 2021 Frehner’s monumental vocal work LEX will be premiered by Soundstreams Choir 21 and a virtuoso string orchestra under the musical direction of world-renown conductor Tõnu Kaljuste. In 2021 his work for solo mezzo soprano and large ensemble, entitled Sometimes the Devil Plays Fate, will be premiered by both the New Music Ensemble of the Glenn Gould School of Music and the New Juilliard Ensemble.

Frehner also actively composes electroacoustic and acousmatic music, creating a range of fixed-media pieces as well as works that explore live electronics. His acousmatic work, Submerged Echoes, is featured in Jason Young’s short film, Gun Killers (2019), an NFB production.

Paul Frehner completed his Doctorate in music in 2004 at McGill University where he studied composition with Denys Bouliane.

Paul Frehner is an Associate Professor 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.