Mr. Bouman’s motets and anthems should be staple repertoire for any church choir. Their scriptural foundation, singability, and accessibility make them practical for any worship context.
Minister of Music and Director, Bach Cantata Vespers
Saint James Lutheran Church (Portland, Oregon)
Bouman is part of what I consider to be a “golden era” of Lutheran church music in the United States… His music is always well-crafted and appealing; grounded in its liturgical function and the proclamation of God’s Word.
Robert J. Kerman
Saint Francis Episcopal Church (San Francisco, California)
Cathedral School for Boys (San Francisco, California)
Bouman’s arrangements of existing materials, as well as his original works, have always been marked by their honesty and appropriate sense of style.
American composer PAUL BOUMAN was born in Minnesota in 1918. He was educated at Concordia Teachers College (River Forest, Illinois) and Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois). Further studies took place at the Westfälische Landeskirchen Musikschule in Herford, Germany where he studied choral conducting with Wilhelm Ehmann, voice and conducting with Frauke Haasemann and organ with Arno Schönstedt. Honorary degrees were bestowed upon him by Christ Seminary (Seminex) in St. Louis, Missouri and Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Recognized for his focus on providing enriching and educational music for treble chorus, Bouman was invited in 1992 by the Minnesota Chapter of ACDA to conduct the Honors Children’s Choir of grades 4–6 at their state convention, and, with that invitation, he was commissioned to write music for the choir’s concert at their convention in Minneapolis. He chose to write musical settings of three Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems from A Child’s Garden of Verses. Shortly thereafter, the National Orff Society convention in St. Paul invited him and the chorus to repeat the concert for their gathering. These imaginative works were eventually expanded to a cycle of nine songs, some of which were performed by Anton Armstrong and the National Honors Junior High Choir at a subsequent ACDA National Convention in San Diego.
James Litton invited him to write for the American Boy Choir, which resulted in one of their favorite pieces, I Lift Up My Eyes To The Hills, which was included in their tour, a recording, and a performance at the UNICEF memorial service for actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn. Another notable commission came from Nancy and Tim Nickel in Portland, Oregon for a motet to be included in the service of the newly formed Bach Cantata series at St. James Lutheran Church in Portland. Further commissions came from Rob Kerman (St. Francis Episcopal Church) in San Francisco, and Paul Lindblad’s Oak Park Concert Chorale. Works have been written for and performed by other leading choirs and organizations including the Lutheran Layman’s League for the Lutheran Hour, Julia White and her Shenandoah Children’s Chorus in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Daniele Bruhn and the Fox River Valley Children’s Chorus in Illinois, and Carolyn Paulin and the Oak Park and River Forest Children’s Chorus.
A professional church musician in the Lutheran Church since 1939, Bouman has made highly significant contributions to church music. His hymn arrangements, chorale preludes for organ, and anthems for mixed voices and children’s choirs all enjoy a wide use. He is forever grateful for the encouragement of friends, particularly his mentor, Hugo Gehrke.
In 1971, he founded the Bach Cantata Series together with Carl Schalk at the historic Grace Lutheran Church (River Forest, Illinois), where he is Minister of Music, Emeritus. The Grace Bach Cantata Series is the second- longest running series in the United States.
Due to his understanding of the child’s voice and his knowledge of Bach, he was invited to prepare a choir of local children to sing in a performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Bach Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Greg Funfgeld, conductor of the Bach choir, is among those who have commissioned and championed Bouman’s music.
His compositional output includes small and medium-sized sacred works, works for organ, and music for both children and adult choirs–sacred and secular. Paul is drawn to sacred texts and children’s poetry because he feels that sacred texts point upward, and children’s poetry is full of whimsy in harmony with the poet’s appeal to the senses. His sensitivity to text, flexibility in writing for all levels of music making, and his unquestionably great imagination combine to make him an enduring figure as a composer.
Bouman’s treble chorus works have been included in recordings made by the American Boy Choir (Princeton, New Jersey) and Bill Ickstadt and the Jubilate Choir (Valparaiso, Indiana). Carl Grapentine at WFMT, Chicago’s classical radio station, has also broadcast programs featuring Bouman’s music. A new recording is scheduled for 2015 that contains new sacred works for both mixed chorus with orchestra. His newest collection is 12 anthems for mixed voices, published by tempo 1º press.