Violinist Paul Rosenthal has been living and working in Alaska since the early 70’s. After studying in New York at the Juilliard School and in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, he realized that neither metropolis was the sort of place where he would be able to live the life of creative freedom he craved, and so found himself drawn to the Alaskan Frontier.
“Plenty of elbow room” is a phrase often heard to escape his lips, as he tries to explain why Alaska has proved a deeply satisfying place to live, to function and to grow as an artist.
At the beginning of his life in the North, Rosenthal lived for five years in a log cabin outside of Fairbanks. During that time, he traveled to many towns and villages around the vast state playing concerts and found a warm and welcoming public wherever he went. This kind of travel and performance has proved to be an enduring satisfaction throughout the years, both in Alaska and in other places, other countries and other continents.
After a time, Rosenthal was asked to join the faculty of the University of Alaska, first in Fairbanks and later in Anchorage and taught in those cities for a number of years. Later the University bestowed the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on their ex-faculty member, who has since re-located to Juneau.
During his early years in Alaska, Rosenthal created the Sitka Summer Music Festival in the picturesque town of Sitka, from which he retired this year after being its Artistic Director for forty years.
This past summer, Rosenthal was the recipient of the Alaskan Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring the many hundreds of concerts he has performed and presented throughout his forty-three years of living and working in Alaska.