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Having joined the Pittsburg State University faculty in 1965, Dr. Paul Carlson earned the doctor of musical arts degree from the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri at Kansas City. His master of music degree is from Northwestern University and he earned the bachelor of music from the Chicago Conservatory of Music. His string teachers have included: Josef Gingold, Yfah Neaman, Paul Rolland, Angel Reyes, Merton Shatzkin, and Jaap Schroeder. Dr. Carlson's musicological studies were with John Ohl and Alexander Ringer. He founded the Waddill Chamber Music Competition at Pittsburg State University, which offers unique opportunities for string, wind, and brass players, as well as vocalists to rehearse with, and be coached by the Pittsburg State University Faculty String Quartet.
Active internationally, Carlson is a member of Kansas/Paraguay partners, one of sixty partnerships between North and South America. In addition to the United States, he has concertized in Europe, South America, and the Orient; he was the first American to be invited to perform and teach at the Hanoi National Conservatory of Music in Vietnam. He has served as concertmaster of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Springfield, Missouri Symphony, and the Southeast Kansas Symphony. As a baroque violinist, Carlson has introduced many audiences to the sound of seventeenth and eighteenth century music on period instruments.