Zonn, Paul


Paul Martin Zonn (born 1938 in Boston) was a clarinetist and conductor as well as a composer. Highly regarded as an authority on the performance of contemporary music for the clarinet, he  introduced a numerous new works for the instrument written for and dedicated to him. Equally high regard for his compositional skill and talent made him the recipient of many awards, grants and commissions. Upon completion of the MFA degree at the University of Iowa in 1966, he was offered a Rockefeller Grant to the Center for Creative and Performing Arts a the State University of New York at Buffalo as composer and clarinetist.  Writing about his own music Zonn said that " I view each composition as a unique project and as an attempt to solve specific compositional problems. I try to bind together the many languages of today's music with a common syntax. Oftentimes my jazz background will influence the rhythmic detail of a 12 tone passage or the melodic partitioning of the Set. And it seems quite natural to me to contrast serially controlled material with an improvised or at least a partially free section. I am not as concerned with formulations and formulas as I am with the interactions of line and density, and shape and expansion of my chosen material." Zonn's career included teaching at the University of Iowa, Grinnell College and the University of Illinois. Zonn died in Nashville, Tennessee on 8 December 2000 after a long illness. His music is available from the American Composers Alliance and Media Press.