The bassist receives $12,500 and a bronze medallion in recognition of his teaching excellence, which has seen many of his students win positions in orchestras worldwide


Photo: Evan Vorhis

Double bassist Paul Sharpe

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The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) has named professor of double bass Paul Sharpe recipient of a 2024 University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has been a member of the School of Music faculty since 2007 and currently serves as assistant dean for recruitment and enrollment.

As recipient of the award, Sharpe receives a $12,500 cash prize and a commemorative bronze medallion. Alumni from his UNCSA double bass studio have recently won positions in the Philadelphia Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra in Japan, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and El Paso Symphony. In eight of the last nine years, a student or more of his UNCSA High School studio has been appointed to the National Youth Orchestra-USA or NYO2 orchestras, including three this year.

’Teaching has always been the source of my greatest fulfillment in life, and I treasure the teaching experience with greater passion now more than ever,’ Sharpe says of his teaching philosophy.

’My students’ indefatigable determination to develop as musicians throughout the pandemic was the thing that kept the entire studio focused on the positive. Bass masterclass and lessons were an oasis from our world’s difficulties and a reminder that living a robust and vital life could be done despite pandemics and strife. Music has transcendent power.’

Prior to joining the faculty at UNCSA, Sharpe was a tenured professor at Texas Tech University; adjunct faculty at University of North Texas; and an instructor at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, and the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City.

He is active internationally both as an orchestral and chamber musician and as a soloist. He has performed and taught throughout the world: in Germany at Villa Musica and the International Chamber Music Academy of Southern Germany; the International Double Bass Encounter in Brazil; the Paris Conservatory; Poland’s World Bass Festival; and in Italy at the Orfeo Music Festival.

In the United States, he has given master classes and performed recitals at many conservatories and universities, including the Cleveland Institute, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, University of North Texas, University of Denver and Shenandoah Conservatory.

He performs in the bass quartet Bad Boyz of Double Bass, and as a member of the unique cello-bass duo Low and Lower combines his bass playing with singing, acting, composing, arranging and more.

Sharpe holds a Bachelor of Music in performance from Northwestern University in Illinois and a Master of Arts in music from the University of Iowa. His principal teachers were Jeff Bradetich and Diana Gannett.

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