Zonn, Paul Martin, 1938- (1938-2000) | University of Illinois Archives
Paul Martin Zonn (1938-2000), modern clarinetist, composer, conductor, educator, gourmet chef, and cutup, graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor's degree in Music in1958, the University of Iowa with a Master of Arts degree in 1965, and a Master of Fine Arts in Composition in 1966. He then started his music career as a Fellow of the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1966-67), following with the post of Composer-in-Residence and Conductor of the Grinnell Symphony at Grinnell College (1967-70). He was then appointed Professor of Composition at the School of Music at the University of Illinois, where he retired in 1995 after serving as chairman for the Composition-Theory Division for several years.
Zonn began composing in his early teens and by the end of his life he had produced over 120 musical works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, jazz and mandolin bands, and a variety of instrumental solos. As an innovator in music, he performed, conducted and composed classical, jazz, country, bluegrass, and avant-garde music with equal enthusiasm. In describing his own music Zonn wrote, "My compositions have always been concerned with the very new and the old and the integration of diverse elements? I use the many languages of world music and try to bind them together." He received numerous awards during his lifetime from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of Illinois' Center for Advanced Studies. He also performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Ravinia, and the Library of Congress.