Stephen Paulson


Stephen Paulson joined the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Bassoon in 1977. Also a conductor, he has served as Music Director of Symphony Parnassus since 1998. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he studied bassoon with K. David Van Hoesen and Mordechai Rechtman, and composition with Samuel Adler. He performed with the Rochester Philharmonic for four seasons, including as principal bassoonist from 1968 to 1970, and from 1970 to 1977 he served as co-principal bassoonist of the Pittsburgh Symphony. He has appeared as soloist in his own Bassoon Concerto with the Rochester Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony. Mr. Paulson has appeared numerous times as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony and has given master classes at colleges worldwide, including the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, and the Shanghai Conservatory. He has performed and taught at the Aspen Music Festival, New World Symphony, Grand Teton Music Festival, and the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific. In April 2009, he assisted Michael Tilson Thomas as woodwind coach and performer in the YouTube Orchestra Summit at Carnegie Hall. In 1995, he performed with the World Orchestra for Peace in Geneva, Switzerland, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. Mr. Paulson is longtime Professor of Bassoon at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has also served as a mentor and workshop leader for the SFS Community of Music Makers Program.

(January 2016)

Profiled in our Meet the SFS Musicians series, Paulson shares his love for music, his family, and San Francisco.