b.1965, Canada

Born in Vancouver, Paul Steenhuisen is an art music composer and sound artist who works with broad range of acoustic and digital media. His concert music consists of orchestral, chamber, solo, and vocal music, and often includes live electronics and sound files. Additionally, he creates radio works and installation pieces.

Steenhuisen obtained his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the University of British Columbia, where he studied with Keith Hamel. Between academic degrees, he studied with Louis Andriessen and Gilius van Bergeijk at the Royal Conservatory of Music, The Hague. While living in Amsterdam, he also worked with Michael Finnissy in Brighton, England. Subsequently, he took part in the Cursus de Composition et Informatiques at IRCAM (Paris), and had lessons with Tristan Murail.

His works have been commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Austrian Radio (ORF), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Klangforum Win, New Music Concerts, Vancouver New Music, SMCQ, Continuum, Kovalis Duo, Gryphon Trio and the Canadian Music Centre, among others.

In 2011 the Canada Council awarded Steenhuisen the Victor Martyn Lynch Staunton Award as the outstanding mid-career artist in music.

Artist Compositions


Premiere Title of Commission Listen
04/22/2004 Vorwissen Listen Close

Steenhuisen grapples in his piece with what he calls the “retrograde/palindrome problem”—the fact that, while music moves forward through time, the concept of a retrograde melody or musical palindrome requires the listener to experience the music moving both forwards and in reverse.