Piano music written and performed by Paul Wilhelm. Offered on cd and cassette.
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Paul Wilhelm has been playing the piano since age 12. He began lessons at that time and studied for several years under private teachers. He also studied Music Theory and Harmony while in college, pursuing other studies. His early favorites were Chopin and Beethoven. “I enjoyed Chopin immensely, and later Beethoven, and then Debussy and then Aaron Copland. Then I discovered Rachmaninoff. He was an absolute genius.” “Music has always been a great love of mine…a passion. But it was not to be my full-time occupation.” Still, Paul knew early on that he had a gift for composition. He wrote his first piece while in high school, a rather lengthy “tone poem” based on the Biblical account of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. “It was a two-movement, classical style composition that attempted to express the emotions of Judas, actually. The second movement is a mournful dirge that captures his supposed sense of despair and hopelessness.”

 Paul wrote other music in the ensuing years, but in the 80’s his composing flourished in a major way. He wrote four Biblical musicals for children, including the script, staging, and most of the songs. “The first three musicals formed a trilogy on the life of Saul and David as described in I and II Samuel in the Bible. The fourth was a time travel fantasy that involved three additional stories from the Old Testament. I was fortunate to be able to produce, direct, and record the score for each of these musicals.”
Paul
The fourth musical was written in 1987, and then Paul entered a long period of inactivity in composing. He served as an organist from 1988 to 1992, and continued to play the piano as well. But the best, as well as greatest life-challenge, were still ahead of him.

As Paul describes what happened, “…everything changed in the summer of 1993. That was when my oldest son suffered a fall in the mountains and sustained a severe head injury. He was totally disabled. Eventually I made the decision to quit the job I had, and become his full-time caregiver. That was in ’96, and I am still caring for him today. The accident changed my life as well as his. In my new lifestyle, I returned to the piano with renewed interest. In January of ’99 I composed my first piece in a number of years. I was in love, and I was inspired.”

 Paul continued to compose and began to record some of his work. By the fall of 2000, he was ready to release his first album, "Bridges to Oak Street". The album is entirely piano solo, and all compositions are Paul’s originals. Nine of the ten pieces were brand new, and one was revised from a song he had written for one of the musicals in the 1980’s. “The pieces are about love, hope, and also pain, suffering and loss. I dedicated the one from the ‘80s ‘The Mighty Are Fallen’ to my son.”

The album was received with great acclaim, and loved by so many, that Paul began performing locally, and working on new music. "Bridges To Oak Street" has sold throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries as well since its November, 2000 release.

In November of 2002, Paul came out with his follow-up album, "Reflections From Higher Ground". In this album he continues to develop the distinctive style of his first album, and adds additional sounds and instruments. “I was really pleased with the results of the Reflections… album and feel that things are developing as time goes on.” The album has many influences, including Paul’s trip to Mexico in March of 2002. Some of the photography in the album is from the trip, and his one piece “Chiapas Morning”, features bird sounds recorded in Chiapas, Mexico. “My style has been called ‘contemporary classical’. It draws from the classical composers, but also from jazz, folk, and new age music. And I have a lot of ideas for the future. This whole thing keeps evolving. It is exciting, really.”

Paul is currently performing weekly or more frequently at local venues. His goal is to continue to expand his performing, and continue composing and recording. “I want to do a Christmas album this year, and I already have a title and several pieces for a third new compositions album probably in 2004. The floodgates are opening! And I continue to learn and am influenced my so much music and events in life. I am glad. I want it to be this way. The future is wide open.”