John Michael Paulson is a Seattle-based composer and conductor. His training as a conductor began at Luther College where he studied conducting and music education with Weston Noble. Following 2 years of post-baccalaureate studies with David Rayl at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Paulson taught middle school and high school vocal music in Garner, Iowa. In 1996 he moved to Boston to study with Ann Howard Jones as a graduate student at Boston University. During his nearly twenty years living in Boston, he served as Music Director at University Lutheran Church, and was a member of the faculty at both Lesley University and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. For the past four years, he has been the Cantor (Music Director) at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle.
Paulson’s flexible compositional style adapts to the fundamental meaning and emotional substance found in the texts and ideas that inspire the music. While teaching in the Garner-Hayfield schools, his composition “Hope” won the 1995 Iowa Choral Directors Association Composition Competition. More recently the Missoula Community Chorus chose “Antigonish” as one of the winners of their 2020 The Way Through Composition Competition which includes a premiere performance in Fall 2021.
He loves spending time with his two young boys whose imaginative and dramatic conversations and actions have inspired a number of his pieces. He is also inspired by his amazing wife who is living her best life as a business owner, music teacher, and gigging singer.