Paul Haas

Music Director

Music Director Paul Haas is a truly dynamic and innovative musician, composer, and conductor. He is currently serving as Music Director of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Artistic Director of Sympho, a New York Based ensemble creating radically engaging live orchestral experiences for the 21st century. 

Mr. Haas was at the start of a promising conducting career when he devised and produced a concert project called REWIND in 2006, featuring composer and musician colleagues and violin soloist Anne Akiko Meyers. REWIND was a reaction against the staid nature of the standard classical music performance: audience members surrounded the performers, then left and started playing behind the audience on all sides.  REWIND had great success, prompting Haas to found Sympho, an organization devoted to the creation and performance of symphonic experiences in unusual venues. One critic, writing in Time Out NY, even called Haas ‘visionary.’ One result of Haas’ immersion in this creative process is his emergence as a composer: over the last decade, fifteen commissions have come in from a wide variety of iconic venues, including the Park Avenue Armory and Rubin Museum of Art in New York, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the Anchorage Museum of Art in Alaska, and the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design in Arkansas. Haas is the first artist ever to receive two separate commissions from the Oliver Ranch Foundation in Sonoma County, California, creating installations for Ann Hamilton’s groundbreaking Tower, an 80-foot-tall concrete tower with interior double-helix staircases. 

The inspiration for Haas’ work comes from a wide array of spiritual and ecological sources, including a longstanding meditation practice and a deep connection to the earth that finds Haas, along with his wife Suzette and two young girls, in the process of beginning an organic homestead that aims eventually to be self-sustaining. His deep concern for the land, for the Earth, and for all its inhabitants, have led him to create art where, as Haas says, “beauty is the only artistic choice: not saccharine, sometimes painful, but always immediate and always real. I’m always striving to connect deep within to that place in each of us that craves beauty, that craves love.”



Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.