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Paul Lichty is a composer, arranger, trombonist, bandleader, and educator currently residing in Des Moines, IA. He is the leader of both the Paul Lichty Jazz Orchestra and the Paul Lichty Sextet, both of which perform his compositions and arrangements exclusively. His music has been described by his colleagues and teachers as “sonic landscapes, rich in groove and development, that are high energy, aggressive, and full of heart, finding the extremely fine line between calm and chaos... his music is truly a reflection of himself." Paul's music makes the performers and audience feel at home and in new territory simultaneously, whether it be with the colors and depth of a large orchestra or the complexity and intimacy of the small jazz ensemble. Paul cites Bob Brookmeyer, Kenny Wheeler, Dave Douglas, Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, and Darcy James Argue as his greatest compositional influences. Paul’s debut album, “Social Media Suite,” was released in 2019 and features works for jazz sextet. His second album, “Dark Soul”, featuring his jazz orchestra, was released in 2021.


Equally adept at writing for a variety of instrumental ensembles and skill levels, Paul’s music has been performed by numerous collegiate and high school ensembles across the United States, Cuba, and Israel. In 2017 and 2018, Paul was commissioned by Christopher Merz to write arrangements for the annual Sinfonian Dimensions in Jazz concerts for guest artists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ben Wendel. He has also contributed music for Dr. Michael Conrad’s new project, the Iowa Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, a big band that features works by several Iowa composers being performed by many of Iowa’s finest jazz musicians. Other commissions include works for Heath Alan, Dr. Robert Washut (UNI Jazz Panthers), Lucas Petersen (Purdue University and Winterset High School), Christopher Jensen (CJ Big Band), Dr. John Wiles (UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club), Clayton Ryan (The Copper Smoke Trials), Brad Jensen (Hudson High School), and Gary Griffin (“Don’t Quit Your Day Job” Big Band). His works have been recorded on five UNI Jazz Band One albums in addition to being performed during their 2017 tour of Cuba. Paul frequently composes and arranges music for his own ensembles for his teaching position in Carlisle CSD. Lastly, Paul has also worked as a copyist for New York City composer/arranger, David Berger.    


Paul’s performance experience is extensive and diverse. Both his sextet and jazz orchestra has performed in various venues throughout the state of Iowa. Currently, Paul performs regularly with BYOBrass, NOLA Jazz Band, the Max Wellman Big Band, the Nate Sparks Big Band, the Des Moines Big Band, and his own jazz orchestra. Other professional ensembles that Paul has performed with include the Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra, Brian Martin Big Band, Jim Asbell and the Tropiholics, Grand Avenue Ruckus, Theatre Cedar Rapids, Revival Theatre Company, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, the Bill Shepherd Big Band, the cover band “Goose Town”, the Copper Smoke Trials, the “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” Big Band, and various community bands. From 2017 to 2019, he worked as a musician aboard the Crystal Symphony, accompanying and arranging for a diverse range of headline acts including Tony Award winning Broadway/West End artists, reality show finalists (X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, etc.), and instrumental virtuosos. Paul has played lead trombone in both the Oregon Jazz Ensemble and UNI Jazz Band One, two of the finest collegiate big bands in their respective states. Paul has had the opportunity to perform with guest artists Dave Douglas, Sean Jones, Luis Bonilla, Bobby Shew, John Wojciechowski, Vern Sielert, and Jack Cooper through his participation in these ensembles. Paul performed and traveled with the Northern Iowa Wind Symphony during their 2016 tour of Northern Italy as well as with the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra for their 2014 tour of Brazil. 

Paul has been able to showcase his skills as an educator in a variety of capacities. He is currently working as a middle school band director at the Carlisle Community School District where he enjoys teaching band grades 5-8 as well as one of their middle school jazz bands. From 2019-2020, Paul worked as a graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon, directing UO Jazz Lab II and coaching one of their ten jazz combos. In between his cruise ship contracts, Paul worked as a substitute band director in the Cedar Falls, Waverly-Shell Rock, and Jesup school districts. He has taught lessons in trombone, improvisation, and theory to beginning and intermediate-level students since 2013, and his students have made it into the Iowa All-State band and jazz band in addition to earning division I ratings at solo festivals. Paul has worked as an adjudicator for the Oregon Jazz Festival in addition to various middle school solo festivals in the Cedar Valley area. He has also enjoyed working as a coach and clinician for jazz bands and chamber ensembles in various school districts throughout Iowa and Oregon.

Paul graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education with a jazz emphasis from University of Northern Iowa in May 2017. He studied trombone with Dr. Anthony Williams, Dr. Chris Buckholz, and Henry Henniger and jazz composition and pedagogy with Christopher Merz, Dr. Robert Washut, Steve Owen, and Paul Krueger. His professional affiliations include Iowa Bandmaster’s Association, Jazz Education Network, International Trombone Association, International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia - Beta Nu Chapter.


In his spare time, Paul enjoys spending time with his friends and family, golfing, traveling, exercising, reading, watching movies, and being constantly reminded that he looks like Ed Sheeran.

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