Internationally renowned flutist and educator Paul Taub (Music MFA 78) passed away on March 13, 2021. He was 68.
Taub is credited as a pioneer of Seattle’s new music community and an influential educator, reflected by a passion for music matched by his dedication to fostering emerging talent.
Taub studied Instrumental Performance in Flute during his time at CalArts, receiving his MFA in 1978. The following year, he received an invitation to teach at the Cornish College of the Arts, where he remained a professor for nearly 40 years until retiring in 2018.
Seattle-based experimental composer Beth Fleenor, who studied under Taub at Cornish, described him as an “encyclopedia of 20th- and 21st-century chamber music from around the world” in The Seattle Times’ obituary for Taub. She further noted he was a “vast supporter of anything you wished to sonically develop” with a “seemingly magical ability to see potential in an individual before they even recognized what could be possible.”
Taub co-founded the Seattle Chamber Players in 1989 with Laura DeLuca (clarinet), Mikhail Shmidt (violin), and David Sabee (cello). Through the ensemble, Taub initiated more than 100 commissions from composers, including John Cage, Toru Takemitsu, and Sofia Gubaidulina, gaining worldwide recognition and touring four continents as a result. The Seattle Chamber Players further solidified the city’s standing in the contemporary classical landscape with the establishment of Icebreaker, a biannual new music festival.
Taub served on the boards of directors of the National Flute Association and Chamber Music America. He also served twice as the president of the Seattle Flute Society.
“His heart was always open in the most natural way,” Elena Dubinets, the Seattle Symphony’s former vice president of artistic planning, also noted in the Times’ obituary. “He was such a generous, kind, and sincere person, and he made a huge difference in many people’s lives.”