Peter Paulsen was a student of Dr. Irving Cohen at West Chester University as a recipient of the Rob Simon Memorial Award. He went on to study with Homer Mensch of the Julliard School and graduate studies at Temple University with Michael Shahan of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Jazz studies included time with the late Al Stauffer and Rufus Reid. Mr. Paulsen has been on the faculty at Moravian College, Lehigh University, Temple University and is currently Instructor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies at West Chester University.
He is director and founding member of "Turks Head Knot" the West Chester University Faculty Contemporary Music Ensemble, commissioning and premiering new works by today’s leading composers. Mr. Paulsen is Assistant Principal Bass of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Principal Bass of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and has been Principal Bass with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Spoleto, Italy, the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra and Pennsylvania Symphonia. He is also busy as a free-lance jazz bassist in the tri-state area and performs regularly with his own quintet and trio as well as many of Philadelphia’s top jazz performers.
Mr. Paulsen is very committed to the education of young, up-coming musicians and has participated in masterclasses with Francois Rabbath, Hal Robinson, Mark Morton, Donald Palma and as a clinician with Jimmy Knepper, George Young, Clark Terry, Dennis DiBlasio, Valery Ponamerov, Ed Soph and Gunnar Mossblad.
He is a member of the International Society of Bassists and an active composer of works for his instrument, receiving three prestigious Pennsylvania Council on the Arts composition grants and a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. He has been awarded the 2007 PEW Fellowship in Music Composition and appears in the Glenn Holsten documentary "12 Short Films of the 2007 PEW Fellows." Mr. Paulsen and his wife, mezzo-soprano Charlotte Paulsen, continue to commission, premier and record many new works for the unusual combination of double bass and voice.
His first CD as a leader, Three-Stranded Cord for jazz quintet, was released on R&Lrecords, receiving national airplay and high reports on Jazzweek and CJM (college radio) charts. As a member of the MPH Trio, with Gunnar Mossblad on saxophones and Chris Hanning on percussion, he has released Curves on GPC recordings which is also getting national airplay and reviews. Mr. Paulsen can also be heard on Jeff Baumeister's new quartet release, Useful Music on Wahbo Records and his second release as a leader on the Peter Paulsen Trio CD release, Tri-cycle also on Wahbo Records.