My music as with all my endeavors is my expression of the truth of my now. It is not about the past, nor is it about the future. It is about the now and the relevant. It is about my current interaction with the world and everything else in it. Music to me is not an isolated phenomenon, unattached and unassociated with life. Rather it is a direct reflection of all our other senses that defines who we are.
I compose and create but my true passion is in improvisation. It allows me total freedom in the now and what is. My freestyle improv allows me to share with my listeners the truth of my current state of mind. My art improvs allows me to reveal the truth of my reactions of what I see. My thematic improvs lets me rediscover what was in the here. To me that is the most important part of my music.
Truth can never be found, only to be strived for.
Born in Hong Kong, Paul Kwo moved to the United States at the age of eight. He eventually received his Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California in 2006 as the most outstanding graduate of the Composition Department. He also earned a Bachelor of Music Cum Laude in Piano Performance with double minors in Theatre and Musical Theatre from the USC in 2003, and was also named the most outstanding graduate of the Keyboard Department. In 2003, he attended Wintergreen Music Festival in Virginia as a pianist. As a composer, he has attended Ernest Bloch Bay Music Festival in 2004 and California Summer Music in 2005.
Paul has studied composition with Frank Ticheli, Tamar Diesendruck and David Fick; piano, with Norman Krieger, Lucinda Carver, Francois Regnat and Charles Fierro; Jazz voice, with Matt Falker; Jazz piano, with Russ Ferrante. He has also had the opportunity to work with Bernard Rands, Steven Hartke, Menachem Wiesenberg, David Tcimpidis and Chen Yi. Paul has also studied acting with Joseph Hacker, Jack Rowe, Michael Keenan, and Palmer Fuller, and playwriting with Velina Houston.
As a composer, his piece Nanking 1937- recieved the Jimmy McHugh Composition Prize, Endowed by Lucille Meyers at USC. The piece also was placed among the top seven by the New York Youth Symphony's 2006 First Music Competition receiving a special recognition. Also in 2005 Paul's Ancient Sacrament for the Organic Machine was placed among the top Paul Kwo's style fuses various genres of music creating his unique freestyle improvs. Elements of Classical, Jazz, Pop and World are mixed and reemerged in his original improvs. His music comes straight from his heart and soul creating stunning sonorities that captures the imagination of his audienceseven by NYYS's 2005 First Music competition. The piece led him to be a finalist in the 2004 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards. Furthermore, ERMMedia has awarded his "Ancient Sacrament for the Organic Machine" to be included in their 'Masterworks of the New Era' Volume Ten, recorded with the Kiev Philharmonic. It is now availble at iTunes, and other merchants. Even while he was a senior at Gabrielino High School, Paul was given the opportunity to provide the arrangement of the Alma Mater for the Band. His symphonic poem Maganddore was accepted in 2006 to be programed in USC's New Music for Orchestra concert. His music has also been performed at the Society of Composer Inc. Region VI Conference at Rice University Syzygy Concert (New Music at Rice) in 2006. His solo piano work Surge has been performed by Chenny Gan at Wintergreen Performing Arts on February 25, 2006 at Wintergreen, Virginia, and has been recorded and released on her 2006 Solo Piano Album.
Paul's career as a pianist has allowed him to perform several of his own compositions at various venues. He was the resident pianist of the USC symphony from 2004-2005, and was also the resident pianist of the USC Wind Ensemble from 2001-2003. In addition he has performed under the batons of Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Larry Livingston, Robert Reynolds, Carl St. Clair, Shelly Berg, Don Crockett and Timothy Su, and alongside Yo-Yo Ma and Chinese singer Wei Wei. He is also very active as a pianist and teacher in Southern California. He has also been performing online in the virtual world of Second Life at many venues with an international audience base. It is there where he discovered and developed his art improv style alongside his freestyle and thematic piano improvs. He has performed to the art works of all genres by various artists from across the globe.
Paul has also been a conductor of various choirs and chamber ensemble in the Southern California area. Aside from conducting premieres of his own works, Paul has also conducted Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus' at various functions including Global Evangelical Mission Choir's Easter Function in 2003.
Paul Kwo is also a working actor in the Los Angeles area and have performed in hit TV shows and film such as Scrubs, Knight Rider and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.