Paul Thomason has combined a lifelong passion for music with his decades of experience in publishing to create a unique voice in writing and lecturing about music.
Early work with piano, and organ and various other instruments eventually led to studying conducting with Wilfred Pelletier in New York City, ambulance and an invitation from Maestro Thomas Schippers to work with him in Italy. The Swiss conductor Peter Maag asked Paul to be his assistant during the 1973?–?74 season of the Metropolitan Opera.
After detouring through the world of publishing, both books (such as Random House, Ballantine Books, Pocket Books) and magazines (International Thomson Retail Press and Ziff-Davis Computer Publications), Paul began writing about music. Since then his work has appeared throughout the US, Europe and Australia in the programs of opera houses (the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric, Houston Grand Opera), symphony orchestras (the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony), and major music festivals (the Lucerne Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, Stern Grove Festival); in publications like “Opera News” magazine, the “San Francisco Chronicle,” and “Christopher Street” magazine, and in the booklets of CD and DVD releases.
He has written numerous scripts for Met Opera radio broadcasts, both for the long-running Saturday matinée broadcasts and for re-broadcasts of the historic performances heard on the Met’s Sirius-XM channel on satellite radio.
In addition, Paul has delighted audiences throughout the US as a lecture and teacher. He has given pre-concert talks at the SF Opera, SF Symphony, Stern Grove Festival, and with Kennedy Center’s Opera Insights series, and spoken to the White Nights Foundation, the Northern California Wagner Society, and the SF Opera Guild. He has taught numerous classes in the extension division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, ranging from “How to Listen to Opera” to “Shakespeare and Opera,” “The Faust Legend in Opera” to “Bel Canto Opera” and “The Operas of Richard Strauss.”
Paul has appeared as a panelist on the Met Opera’s popular intermission quiz during the Saturday afternoon broadcast, as well as on its Record Collectors Roundtable. In addition he has written and given several intermission features during the Met’s broadcasts.
He is currently writing a book about the music of Richard Strauss.