b.1970, Canada

Paul Frehner’s initial musical experiences came from playing guitar in several rock and folk music groups throughout his teenage years. He then studied composition at McGill University with John Rea, Brian Cherney and Denys Bouliane, eventually completing his doctoral degree in 2004.

Frehner’s compositions have been performed by the Almeida Opera, the Esprit Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble Contemporaine de Montréal and the Quasar Saxophone Quartet.

He has received received commissions by Genesis Foundation, Esprit Orchestra, Ensemble Contemporaine de Montréal, Radio France, Fibonacci Trio, Gryphon Trio and Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn, among others.

Paul Frehner is a faculty member of the Don Wright Faculty of Music of Western University (London, Canada) where he teaches composition, electroacoustic music, and co-directs the contemporary music ensemble.

Artist Compositions


Premiere Title of Commission Listen
03/11/2020 Corpus Listen Close

Exploring mystical and religious themes of life, death, oblivion, and afterlife, Corpus combines settings of two texts separated by some eight hundred years. Percussion plays an important role, with particular emphasis on the use of skins and metals.

11/24/2009 Berliner Konzert Listen Close

Created to mark the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this piece does not merely celebrate that momentous event; its larger purpose is to explore through music the entire story of the city’s division. Each of its six movements is inspired by historical events during the Wall’s rise and fall.

03/16/2008 Seven Last Words of Christ Listen Close

In this series of seven musical meditations on the words spoken by Jesus on the cross, Frehner makes dramatic use of counterpoint and other forms of superimposition to explore the meanings and universal resonances of the texts.

01/17/2006 Lila Listen Close

Lila is a Hindu creation myth in which Brahman, the supreme universal spirit, transforms himself into the world. Frehner draws a parallel between this concept and his own compositional process: a single musical idea may seem to come out of nowhere to become part of the composition, travelling and developing in many possible directions.