Preveous Teaching

the University of Indianapolis

the University of Toledo

National Sun Yat-Sen University
in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

National Pingtung University
in Pingtung, Taiwan
(formerly known as both National Pingtung University of Education and National Pintung Teacher's College)

National Kaohsiung Normal University (part time)
in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Current Teaching

National Kaohsiung Normal University (full time)
Associate Professor of Composition and Theory

Paul SanGregory's music might be described as harmonically colorful, melodically clear, rhythmically and texturally varied, sometimes dramatic and often possessing a complexity not immediately apparent. Underlying structures create direction and logic, but his music typically remains flexible and intuitive on the surface. He has an eclectic approach to technique, sometimes combining more recent compositional approaches with elements from Chinese music, earlier Western music, or blues, for example, yet he folds them into a consistent musical personality. His music has been performed in places as diverse as Taiwan, China and other Asian countries, the United States, Europe, Canada, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It has been broadcast and discussed on NPR affiliated radio stations in the US as well as Hong Kong Radio and Radio New Zealand Classic. His commissions have come from various institutions, ensembles and individuals, including both large and small ensembles at universities in the US and Taiwan as well as from colleagues in various parts of the world. His works include solo instrumental and vocal pieces as well as chamber music, choir music, orchestra music and concertos. Recordings of his works are available on CDs produced by Early Music Society Taiwan, Capstone Records, Leyerle Publications, The Asian Composers League and ShineCreativity co.

Most of his works are self-published, though some are available through Leyerle Publications and the Mostly Marimba website.

He currently lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, where he serves as coordinator of Music Theory and Composition at National Kaohsiung Normal University.

To learn more about Paul SanGregory's music or to obtain scores and parts of selected compositions, please
visit his composition web site.

In the United States, Mr. SanGregory served on the music composition and theory faculties at the University of Indianapolis and the University of Toledo. He then taught theory and composition for many years at National Kaohsiung Normal University, National Sun Yat-Sen University and National Pingtung University in southern Taiwan. During those years, he was also coach, conductor and composer for NKNU's Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at National Kaohsiung Normal University, and serves on the board of directors for the Asian Composers League’s Taiwan Section.

Originally from northern Ohio, Mr. SanGregory completed the Doctor of Music degree in composition at Indiana University where his major teachers were Claude Baker and Frederick Fox. He also studied composition with Eugene O'Brien, Mark Phillips and David Jex, and has studied piano with Michel Block, Richard Syracuse, Thomas Hecht, and Anthony Pattin.


Shining Through Cracks (composed in 2013)

I began this piece with the intention of writing a composition based on harmonic colors and instrumental textures. As a starting point, I first devised a series of chords that would be used throughout the piece both as a unifying feature and as a way of producing harmonic colors. Pitch classes from these chords could then be used to produce various ensemble textures. As they appear in the piece, the complete chords are mostly heard in the piano part, while selected notes from the chords (and sometimes even notes from outside of the chords) are used by the strings to make various textures. These string textures often use small chromatic clusters in freely melodic atmospheres of “controlled aleatory” — a technique in which each string player assumes his or her own tempo while the oboe and piano continue playing together in strict tempo. Creating this effect brought about certain notational and ensemble challenges, but the result is a cloudy string atmosphere that the oboe shines through while being supported by the piano’s chord series. Furthermore, the inversions and spacing of the piano chords are always changing, thus providing a variety of harmonic colors as well as structure and stability. Finally, the oboe, while usually playing melodies based on notes of those chords, sometimes adds microtonal pitch bends. These microtones let the oboe stand out as being distinctly different from the rest of the ensemble. One might even say they help it to “shine through” the various harmonic colors and string textures of the ensemble.

(This recording is a dress rehearsal I made using a portable digital recorder in the Kaohsiung City Music Hall. The piano was situated a little too far from the mic, unfortunately, but I'm happy with the performance. The players include members of the Counterpoint Chamber Ensemble of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, with oboe soloist Akris Hung.)

Meditations on a Chord (composed in 2008)

This piece was composed for percussionist Kevin Romanski, who also provided advice on some technical matters. The title refers to its initial inspiration: the contemplation of different color combinations of the notes found in a C13 chord. In terms of character, it begins with a slow meditative repetition of two melodic ideas. One is played as single-handed rolls by the right-hand while the other is a slowly developing melody played by the left-hand. Because the phrases of these two ideas do not align, their interaction creates a kaleidoscopic shifting of harmonic colors. A faster middle section continues developing both the harmonic and rhythmic interaction between the two hands, but in a more active and syncopated way. After a series of dramatic outbursts, the original meditative quality returns and the piece ends quietly with a return of material from the first section.

(This recording is the premiere performance as played by Kevin Romanski in the Kaohsiung City Culture Center's Chih-Shan Hall.)

33 Tears (For Sansan) [composed in 2011]

I composed this simple piano piece as a short memorial for my late wife, Sansan Chien. Because her “English” name, Sansan, sounds like the number 33 in Mandarin Chinese, I decided to compose this piece based on the number 3 as well as various multiples of it. So, for example, prominent intervals include thirds, sixths, ninths, twelfths and tritones (which are comprised of 3 major seconds). Also, notes often appear in groups of 3 (or multiples of 3), create patterns of three beats (or multiples of 3 beats), or use dotted note values (which naturally create groupings of 3). Structurally, phrases include 33 beats and the larger formal sections are based on those phrases. Finally, though there is some tempo flexibility, the two primary tempos used are 66 and 99 beats per minute which, of course, are multiples of 33. Not all of these relationships are immediately obvious during the music's performance, but because she loved sudoku, numbers and puzzles in general, I feel that Sansan would have appreciated this puzzle aspect. It therefore seems appropriate if the music isn't too quick to reveal all of its secrets.

(This is a recording of the premiere performance of "33" as I performed it during her memorial concert in the Kaohsiung City Culture Center's Chih-Shan Hall in 2012.)