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Paul S. Chihara

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music


DMA, 1965, Cornell Univ; MA, 1961, Cornell Univ; BA, 1960, Univ Washington


Paul Chihara received his doctorate degree (D.M.A.) from Cornell University, also studied with the renowned pedagogue Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Ernst Pepping in Berlin, and with Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood. Mr. Chihara has composed scores for over 100 motion pictures and television series, including work with directors Sidney Lumet, Louis Malle, Arthur Penn, and Michael Richie. Among his scores are “Prince “of the City”, “The Morning After”, “Crossing Delancey”, the popular TV series  “China Beach”,  “100 Centre Street” and Miyazaki’s international hit movie “Kiki’s Delivery Service”.  He composed the documentary “The Mississippi” for the classic series The Rivers for Jacque Cousteau.

He orchestrated for Gil Shaham and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra “Live from Lincoln Center”.  Active on Broadway, Mr. Chihara served as musical consultant and arranger for Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, and was composer for James Clavell’s Shogun, the Musical.

He has received many commissions and award, from The Lili Boulanger Memorial Award (1962), the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, the Naumberg Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Fellowship, the Aaron Copland Fund, and National Endowment for the Arts, as well as from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Seattle Symphony,  the New Juilliard Ensemble, Continuum, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He was composer- in-residence for the San Francisco Ballet from 1973-1986, as well as the first composer-in-residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, under Sir Neville Marriner.  With Toru Takemitsu, he was composer-in-residence at the Marlboro Festival of 1971.  He was the composer-in-residence with Maestro Zuben Mehta at the 1973 Edinburgh Music Festival. He is presently a Trustee of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, for whom he serves as resident orchestrator and arranger.

Mr. Chihara has been awarded the Composer-of-the-Year by the Classical Recording Foundation in New York, 2008. He founded and chaired the Visual Media (graduate film music) at UCLA.  Among his illustrious students are James Horner (Academy Award winner for the movie “Titanic,” Joseph Trapanese (“Straight Outa Compton”), and Jeff Kryka (“Dr. Strange” and “Rogue One”).  He is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Music at UCLA, and presently an Artist Faculty in film music at NYU and Hofstra University.

Recent Courses Taught

Course Title Level
MUS 020P (CP) COMPOSITION Undergraduate