Paul Vermel brings to the podium over 60 years of expertise, and a highly successful career as conductor, educator, mentor and orchestra builder. He first studied conducting, organ, harmony and theory in his native Paris - studying conducting with André Cluytens and Paul Kletzki, and organ with André Fleury. In 1949 he left France to study at The Juilliard School as a student of Jean Morel. He served on the Juilliard faculty in both the orchestral and opera departments.
While in New York Paul Vermel was music director and conductor of the Hudson Valley Symphony, the Doctor’s Orchestral Society and the Brooklyn Community Orchestra and taught at Brooklyn College. For eight years he was music director of the summer opera and musical theater program at Green Mansions in the Berkshires. He made his Broadway debut as assistant conductor of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Saint of Bleecker Street. Leaving New York, Paul Vermel moved to California to become music director and conductor of the Fresno Philharmonic. He also taught at California State University, was music director of the Fresno Youth Orchestra, and conducted opera extensively. Moving back to the east coast he was appointed director of the Music in Maine Project (a Title III program) and one year later was tapped to lead the Portland Symphony Orchestra. He led the PSO from 1967 to 1975, a time of significant musical growth. During his tenure a series of Family Concerts was begun and the first out-of-town (run-out concerts) were given, starting in Augusta, and eventually including several towns in New Hampshire, cities throughout Maine. And the PSO received a National Endowment for the Arts grant that supported a tour of the Canadian Provinces. Summer Concerts returned to the orchestra’s schedule, and Youth Concerts were expanded and improved. Paul Vermel also conducted the Portland Community Orchestra, which was supported by the PSO. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Nasson College in 1975. As Music Director of the PSO, he helped to found the Portland String Quartet, whose players were the string principals of the orchestra. Now in its 53rd season, the Quartet continues to perform, tour and record.
For twenty years Paul Vermel was professor of music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and conductor of both the University Symphony and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony. While at U of I he conducted many operas with Illinois Opera Theatre, and took the University Symphony Orchestra on tour throughout the state. He was a frequent All-State and District Festival conductor. Paul lived in the Chicago area from 1994 to 2014, and served as Music Director of the Northwest Symphony Orchestra from 1994 to 2013, and North Suburban Symphony from 1996 to 2007.
His guest conducting experience includes performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Symphony of Washington, D.C., the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, and numerous regional, community and All-State orchestras. An active teacher since his Juilliard days, Paul Vermel headed the orchestral conducting program at the Aspen Music Festival and School for 14 years, and taught at the Conductors Institute at the University of South Carolina for 26 years. Many of his students are achieving success on the podiums of orchestras in the United States and Europe.
Among his many awards and honors are: the Koussevitsky Memorial Award for the outstanding conductor at Tanglewood, the American Symphony Orchestra League Recognition Award, a Ford Foundation grant for advanced study and, in conjunctions with the national Orchestras-On-Tour Program, the Bell Telephone Award for outstanding achievement in and contribution to the arts. He was honored with the ASCAP Award for adventuresome programming of contemporary music. In January of 2009 he received the Max Rudolf Award from the Conductors Guild, given biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement as a conductor and pedagogue, and significant service to the profession in the realms of scholarship and ensemble building.
Paul Vermel is married to Carolyn Paulin, a choral conductor who earned the DMA at the University of Illinois in 1989, and who also is free-lance classical music radio producer. They returned to Maine in the summer of 2014 and live in Scarborough. He has a video “Conducting with Clarity and Musicianship,” produced in 2008 by Paula Holcomb and Kate Tamarkin. You can also purchase this video - E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.