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Sounding Off From Geisel Library

UC San Diego's Carillonneur and soundscape extraordinaire shares a slice of his music DNA.

In today’s beat seat perches a man who’s no stranger to talking about, thinking about and playing music, a lot. A man who owns so many musical instruments that they overflow from his home and office into two additional storage units.

Scott Paulson is perhaps most recognizable around the campus as the resident carillonneur and outreach coordinator for the arts library at Geisel. But whaling out tunes like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” on the University Carillon is, really, just a part of his day job, and only scratches the surface of his musical undertakings.

As a classically trained oboist, Paulson has played for the San Diego Chamber Orchestra (now known as Orchestra Nova) and in the pit for Lyric Opera San Diego, among other things. He is also the brains behind interactive, experimental music events like, “The Not-So-Silent Film Festival,” and, “The Short Attention Span Chamber Music Series,” in which he is notorious for jesting his audience into participating through sound making and wacky movements.    

Although Paulson's accomplishments are worthy of considerable further elaboration, I had to stop somewhere for the sake of the interview's Q&A portion. So, what’s inside the head of a man so musically inclined? Read on for some insight:

Name: Scott Paulson

Occupation: UCSD Outreach Coordinator, University Carillonneur and musician.

In a word, sum up your taste in music: “Retro – as in 1920’s retro.”

What is your castaway disc (the one CD or album you would take with you to a deserted island)? “R. Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country, various artists. This is a historical recording compilation from stars of early blues, jazz and country by the famed illustrator R. Crumbs. The CD also comes with a set of beautifully illustrated trading cards showing the musicians and their bio info --- and I must have those cards (not just the CD) while stranded on the island!"

(Paulson also followed up with an alternate via e-mail subsequent to the interview. Honorable mention goes to Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On, Jeannie Cheatham).

Favorite live music performance—artist, venue, year: Devo, California Theatre San Diego, 1980. “They were one of the first groups to have cinematic aspects of their live show – very theatrical, very live performance oriented.”

If you were an instrument, what would it be and why? “A theremin. I like the fact that it’s one of the earliest examples of an electronic instrument – invented around 1920. It has old school charm and space age appeal.”

Your guilty music pleasure: “Pink Martini – they’re a throwback to 1940’s and 50’s lounge music; very virtuosic players. I would call them an elegant lounge band.”

Name the three artists getting the most airtime on your iPod right now:

  1. Linda Kernohan (her “Concerto for Theremin & Orchestra” was written specifically for Paulson).
  2. Frédéric Chopin’s classical piano preludes.
  3. Radiohead
Kristin Luciani February 25, 2011 at 09:58 PM
You can see this carillonneur and other UC San Diego innovators at the free IDEaS expo today! Food, prizes, networking and a special perfromance by slam poet Kip Fulbeck. www.50th.ucsd.edu

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