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Beloved Twin Cities composer Stephen Paulus dies at 65


World-renowned Twin Cities composer Stephen Paulus has died at the age of 65.

The composer, who wrote more than 500 works during a career spanning more than 35 years, died on Sunday from complications of the stroke he suffered in the summer of last year, his website confirmed.

He was named composer in residence at the Minnesota Orchestra in 1983, serving in the same position in Atlanta, Tuscon and Annapolis, and is best remembered for his 1982 opera "The Postman Always Rings Twice."

Among those paying tribute to Paulus is Twin Cities choral director Dale Warland, who told MPR News: "He knew the potential for vocal colors, extreme registers, you name it, he just had that skill to bring something that really became part of our diet, every concert practically."

Born in Summit, New Jersey, his family moved to Minnesota when he was just 2 years old, Classicalite reports.

His wider contribution to music started as early as 1973, when he co-founded the American Composers Forum. After gaining his doctorate in composition from the University of Minnesota in 1978, he went on to write 10 operas, nearly 60 orchestral scores and 150 choral pieces, MPR says.

Survived by his wife Patty and sons Greg, 30, and Andrew, 25, news of his death has reached the international music community.

"Stephen Paulus has left us many beautiful choral works that will be sung for years to come," says Stephen Layton on the website of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he is the musical director. He continued:

"I will never forget the time I encountered his Hymn to the Eternal Flame - a simple, heartfelt setting with a wafting soprano solo.

"For one so successful, he was really quite modest and very generous in his enthusiasm for our recording. His encouragement of the choral scene in Minnesota, and the way that this reached out beyond the USA, is his wonderful legacy."

The Choir of Royal Holloway, London, also paid tribute on its Facebook page, saying: "Stephen Paulus was a great talent and his passing a loss to the musical world and the Twin Cities of Minnesota in particular."

A funeral date has not yet been set, according to the posting on his website by the Paulus family.

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