John W. Paulson

Honorary Degree Recipient

Doctor of Humane Letters

School of Music, May 5, 2017

John W. Paulson, accomplished and well-known composer, educator, innovator and entrepreneur, received a bachelor’s degree in music education from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota in 1970. After earning the master of arts degree in music education from the Eastman School of Music in 1976, Paulson served as a public school music educator in St. Louis Park and Wayzata, Minnesota. He is considered to be a pioneer in high school education, creating courses in the early 1980’s in electronic music, class piano, and Twentieth Century music. He went on to develop SmartMusic, a unique integration of technology, content and Internet services that allowed teachers to post an assignment to students in a band or orchestra in less than one minute. Within SmartMusic, he developed and licensed a mix of music technologies including Intelligent Accompaniment, which changed the way musicians at all levels practice and learn. Paulson founded Coda Music Technology (now MakeMusic, Inc.) in 1990 and remained chief executive officer until his retirement in 2008. As CEO of MakeMusic, he acquired Finale music notation software and developed it into the gold standard for music notation worldwide. Paulson has served on numerous non-profit and industry boards, including the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the American Composers Forum, the International Association of Music Merchants, and the Global Economic Summit of Music Products Industry. He also serves in advisory roles and collaborations with the University of Minnesota School of Music Advisory Board for Music Education and the Eastman Kauffman Advisory Group, to name a few. In 2002, he was awarded the Golden Clef Award from the Berklee College of Music in recognition of his commitment to music education.

Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.