Dr. Paul Vance

Dr. Paul Vance stands with a cello.

Dr. Paul Vance is Professor of Cello and Director of Orchestral Activities in the WSU Department of Music, where he also teaches double bass, music history and courses related to music history and literature. As a performing cellist, Dr. Vance has focused on the literature for unaccompanied cello - especially the Suites of J. S. Bach and Benjamin Britten - and on sonatas for cello and piano. His collaborators in the latter area include his WSU colleague Deanne Mohr, Mutsumi Motecki and Susan Keith Gray.

In his capacity as a conductor, Dr. Vance has specialized in the symphonies of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. He is a champion of American symphonic music, and, as Music Director of the Winona Symphony Orchestra (1996 to 2009), premiered works by Libby Larsen, Dan Maske and former WSU colleague James S. Hoch, in whose Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (2000) Paul was soloist. 

Dr. Vance founded the Winona State University Orchestra in 2001 and created the WSU Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century - which ensemble performs on period instruments - in 2016.

In his “spare time,” Paul Vance is a songwriter and is an active member of Minnesota Songwriter’s Association and Nashville Songwriters Association International. He has so far been recognized as NSAI “One to Watch” more than a dozen times, and has had several songs recommended for the NSAI Publishers Luncheons. He performs regularly in the Twin Cities area and in Nashville, where he has played such venerable venues as the Bluebird Café, The Local and Douglas Corner Café.


  • Bachelor of Arts - Vocal Music and Stringed Instruments
    Moorhead State College (MN)
  • Master of Music - Cello Performance
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Doctor of Musical Arts - Cello Performance
    University of Michigan

Courses Taught

  • Applied Cello
  • Music History

Orchestra Program

Dr. Paul Vance
Program Director

The Orchestral Program consists of three main ensembles:

One unique aspect of the program is the variety of the music performed. Not only is the repertoire chosen from orchestral standards, the work of contemporary composers is often featured and an effort is made to include works by composers from the surrounding area. Another exciting aspect of the program is the camaraderie shared by the musicians who have many opportunities to travel together to attend professional orchestra concerts and meet professional musicians and composers.

The Symphony Orchestra Club helps fund these trips and is working to create a music library for use by small ensembles. Members of both orchestras often form duos, trios and quartets and perform throughout the year at coffeehouses, weddings, and special events and in recitals. For further information about the WSU Orchestral Program, please contact Dr. Paul Vance.