Classical guitarist Paul Bowman is one of today's most 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, Alain-Michel Riou, Dorothy Hindman, Keith Carpenter, and Yehuda Yannay. Recent new solo and chamber works include those by composers Aaron Gervais, Nicholas Deyoe, Paolo Cavallone, Kirsten Broberg, Katerina Stamatelos, Alessandra Ciccaglioni, Yotam Haber, C.P. First, Andrew Mead, William Neil and Jeff Nichols.
Bowman formed Duo Sequenza with flutist Debra Silvert in 1988, winning a "Concerts Atlantique" European Debut Concert at the Palais de l’Athenée in Geneva, Switzerland in 1990. They gave the world premiere of their first commission, Rondo Caprice, Op. 35 by Easley Blackwood when they presented the New Composers’ Concert of the Bar Harbor (Maine) Music Festival in 1992. Duo Sequenza has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia, giving foreign premieres of works by important American composers such as Robert Beaser and Ned Rorem.
Paul 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 such cities as New York, Chicago, Boston, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Tokyo and Singapore, among others. Ensemble appearances with New York new music groups include The Group for Contemporary Music, The New Music Consort, Musician's Accord, The Bowery Ensemble and Ensemble Sospeso. Other performances with various new music groups include CUBE, Chicago 21st Century Ensemble, red fish blue fish, Ensemble Noamnesia, 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. In collaboration with flutist and new music flutist/composer/conductor Harvey Sollberger, he has given performances at the Institute for Advanced Italian Studies at Columbia University in New York, the Villa Aurelia at The Rome Academy and the "Midamerica Center for Contemporary Music" at Bowling Green State University. He has enjoyed highly productive collaborations with virtuoso violinist/violist Karen Bentely Pollick, and new music-mandolinist Dimitris Marinos.
Bowman has worked closely with composers of distinction such as Elliott Carter, George Crumb, David del Tredici, Harvey Sollberger, Pierre Boulez, Roger Reynolds, and Charles Wuorinen. He has also collaborated with esteemed conductors Stefan Asbury, Heinz Holliger, Steven Schick and Jeffrey Milarsky.
Holding B.M and M.M. degrees in Classical Guitar Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, Bowman received his D.M.A. (A.B.D.) in Contemporary Performance from the University of California San Diego. He studied classical guitar with Sharon Isbin and Carlos Barbosa-Lima, among others. He frequently gives workshops at universities across the country, specifically for composers to encourage the writing of new music for the guitar.
His recordings may be found on SEAMUS, Albany, Vienna Modern Masters, Hungaroton, Innova, University of Illinois Experimental Music, and Mode Records. To date, he has produced a 13 CD box set of published and unpublished studio recordings.
“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 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 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
“By the way, he belongs among the best guitarists in the world”. - Rheinische Post (Düsseldorf, Germany), -November 1, 1999
“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
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". -George Crumb
"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". –Charles Wuorinen
"Paul Bowman is an excellent classical guitarist - dedicated to his instrument and the new literature for his instrument". -Lukas Foss
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 University
"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". -Roger Reynolds
"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." -Harvey Sollberger