Paul D. Weber is Professor Emeritus of Church Music at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, North Carolina, where he served as Director of Choral Activities, conducting the Lenoir-Rhyne University A Cappella Choir, College Singers, and Chapel Choir. In 1996 he co-founded the university’s sacred music program and for twenty years served as its coordinator, developing it into a nationally recognized course of study.
From 1999-2016 he directed and toured with the university’s renowned A Cappella Choir, performing to audiences in the United States and abroad in the Baltic States, Russia, Finland, Poland, Austria, and Germany, and established sister city ties with Altenburg, Germany, near Leipzig. Dr. Weber conducted the choir for the Installation Service of Mark Hanson as Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2001 and for the installation of the 78th Bishop of the North Carolina Synod in 2016. Under his leadership the choir also performed in the National Cathedral for the 2009 Lutheran Reformation Service and in Blacksburg, Virginia after the massacre at Virginia Tech. On his last tours, Dr. Weber conducted the choir in a program at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston and on a music-mission trip to Costa Rica in partnership with the Lutheran Church of Costa Rica.
Weber’s hymns, anthems, and liturgical settings are sung across the nation. He is a contributing composer to hymnals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and to the MorningStar Music Publishers series, “Sacred Music from Lenoir-Rhyne.” Other publishers of his music include Concordia Publishing House and Augsburg Fortress.
Weber won the 1995 Chautauqua Chamber Singers Choral Composition Contest for the anthem, “Prayer for Unity.” In 1995 and again in 1997, he won the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians national composition contest with his setting of “Morning Prayer” and the canticle, “I Will Sing the Story of Your Love.” In 1986 he was commissioned to write the music for the theme hymn of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, “Come, Share the Spirit,” and in 1988 he was awarded the St. Olaf Prize for his hymn text, “So Great A Cloud of Witnesses.”
In 2003 Weber received the Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Composition from the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians for a career of outstanding contributions to the profession as exemplified in a specific work. The winning anthem, “Arise, Shine!” (SSAATTBB), published by Augsburg Fortress, was first sung by the Lenoir-Rhyne University A Cappella Choir on its 2001 Concert Tour and subsequently by the National Lutheran Choir, the Cantorei and Chapel Choir of St. Olaf College, and Luther College’s Nordic and Cathedral Choirs.
In February 2007, Weber served as producer for a CD of hymn arrangements from the new hymnal of the ELCA, Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Available from Augsburg Fortress, “Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Hymns Audio Edition, Volume 2” features the Lenoir-Rhyne University A Cappella Choir and Lenoir-Rhyne Youth Chorus in new hymn settings for choir, organ, and instruments by Weber and his former student, Michael Costello.
Weber’s compositions exemplify the continuation of the Lutheran tradition. With High Delight was given its premier performance by the National Lutheran Choir in the Valparaiso University Chapel of the Resurrection for the 2013 Biennial Conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. This three-movement a cappella work is a setting of Martin Franzmann’s translation of a 16th century Bohemian Brethren hymn. This Distler-inspired motet explores the hymn text with varying textures and quotes Luther’s Christ lag in Todesbanden. Weber’s Magnificat (1997) for soprano and treble soloists, chamber orchestra, mixed choir and treble chorus received public acclaim in performances throughout the southeast and abroad. Luthers letztes Gebet, a setting of Martin Luther’s last prayer scored for SSAATTBB choir and solo trombone, was premiered by the A Cappella Choir in concert venues throughout Germany, including performances at Luther’s grave in a service of worship at the Castle Church of Wittenberg. His dramatic setting of psalm 99, The Lord Reigns, was premiered by the Lenoir-Rhyne Youth Chorus at the 200th anniversary service of the North Carolina Synod (ELCA) and received subsequent performances at St. Philip’s Cathedral, Atlanta, under Bruce Neswick, and at St. George’s, Windsor Castle, England, by the Lenoir-Rhyne Youth Chorus.
Weber’s recent compositions for the Reformation 500th Anniversary Year include The Righteous Shall Live By Faith, commissioned by the North Carolina Synod, and Weber’s new hymn and concertato arrangement, God’s Only Son, the Word Alone, premiered in Carnegie Hall, New York City, on June 25 with the composer conducting.
Weber received a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting from The University of Iowa, a master of musical arts degree in composition from Yale University, and a master of music degree in organ performance and composition from Washington University, St. Louis. He has studied conducting and repertoire with Tamara Brooks, Richard Bloesch, Jon Bailey, Joseph Flummerfelt, Robert Bergt, and Ralph Schultz. His composition teachers have included Krzysztof Penderecki, Jacob Druckman, Bruce MacCombie, Roland Jordan, and Ralph Schultz. Prior to his tenure at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Weber held conducting positions at Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania, and The Albertson College of Idaho, Caldwell, Idaho. He was in the first graduating class of Christ Seminary-Seminex and received a master of divinity degree through the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He attended Concordia College– New York, and Concordia Senior College, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, before registering at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained in 1979 and remains on the clergy roster of the North Carolina Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 Weber was named Distinguished Alumnus at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and was conferred the same honor at Concordia College–New York.