Paula Jespersen Diehl came to New Jersey from China as an infant with her Danish parents and older brother. From her time of awareness, she heard music in the home. She and each of her three brothers studied a musical instrument; her mother listened to opera and played Danish songs on the piano for the children to sing, and her father and an uncle sang Danish songs. Diehl soon hated piano lessons with a passion and begged her mother incessantly  to let her stop, which she finally did. An about-face occurred twenty years later. It started with the purchase of an old piano, playing on it simple Stephen Foster songs, other simple American songs, and simple Bach works, and ended with a decision to return to college to study music.

During semesters at American University in Washington DC, while she was taking courses needed to enter a master’s program, Diehl and two peers fervently discussed the need to have a new composition system. In 1978, Diehl came up with one. She named it “Separation.” Separation was barely acknowledged by the Temple University music professors with whom Diehl studied for her master’s. In spite of this, between homework and travel into the city of Philadelphia, she started writing pieces of music according to the strict regulations the system imposed. Before graduating in 1982 with an M.M., she formed the group SOUNDS, a 4 to 6 member ensemble, to perform
pre-structured improvisations according to the Separation system.

In 1985 Diehl entered the field of dance, writing music to represent her choreographic ideas as well as choreographing dance to represent her musical ideas. By 1992, having said more or less what she wanted to in dance, she left the field but continued writing music on a regular basis. Diehl has had several works recorded, varying from choral pieces, string quartets, orchestral works, and chamber ensemble pieces. Her works have been featured on the Navona compilations PARADIGMS (2012), ELEMENTS RISING (2015), and CRIMSON & LACE (2015).

Albums

Separation

Release Date: June 10, 2016
Catalog Number: NV6044
21st Century
Orchestral
Vocal Music
Choir
Orchestra
The clichéd trope of the isolated artist toiling over their work in a virtual vacuum, alone and against the trends of the day, is not a new one. But in the case of Paula Diehl, it is as true as it comes. It isn’t an easy task to be a composer, a job which (to paraphrase Aaron Copland) holds few material rewards, and often even fewer good notices in the paper the next morning – it requires an inner strength and conviction in order to persevere through the challenges, be they artistic, financial, or social.
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Figments

Release Date: February 12, 2016
Catalog Number: NV6023
21st Century
Chamber
Cello
Piano
Violin
Navona Records presents FIGMENTS, a compilation of eclectic contemporary works for chamber ensemble that highlight the dramatic, the mysterious, and the inventive through diverse instrument combinations and use of extended techniques. The album features music by composers Mark Dal Porto, Richard Campanelli, David Nisbet Stewart, Paula Diehl, Jason R. Lovelace, and Mel Mobley.
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Crimson & Lace

Release Date: August 14, 2015
Catalog Number: NV6006
21st Century
Chamber
Vocal Music
Voice
On CRIMSON & LACE, Navona Records' compilation of modern works for voice and chamber ensemble, composers John G. Bilotta, David DeVasto, and Paula Diehl present works that depict the struggles as well as the rewards of human experience, such as heartache, death, love, hope, uncertainty, tragedy, and the resilience of the human spirit.
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Elements Rising

Release Date: March 10, 2015
Catalog Number: NV5990
21st Century
Chamber
Large Ensemble
Piano
String Orchestra
Navona Records' latest offering of chamber music ELEMENTS RISING highlights contemporary composers who re-imagine the building blocks of music, such as melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, and timbre, in innovative ways, applying them to a number of duo and ensemble settings.
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Paradigms

Release Date: August 1, 2012
Catalog Number: NV5880
21st Century
Concertos
Orchestral
Oboe
Orchestra
PARADIGMS explores the notion that music of varied influences, backgrounds, and techniques can be strung together to represent modern classical as a whole. With orchestral works that dive into the dramatic and expressive, ponder the impressionistic through textured and rhythmic motifs, and compare the bright with the chaotic, this album posits that music of all studies and methods of creation are pieces of a larger puzzle that shape the American contemporary soundscape.
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