Flutist Paolo Bortolussi is known as a passionate and provocative performer of a wide range of musical styles. Raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across Canada and the US. Currently principal flutist with the Vancouver Island Symphony, Paolo has appeared as soloist with the VIS as well as the Albany (NY) Symphony and has performed with the Turning Point Ensemble, the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, The Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, as well as the Vancouver and Victoria Symphony Orchestras, in addition to broadcasts on CBC and SRC radio. He is a featured soloist on Vancouver Visions, a Centredisc release of Canadian composer Stephen Chatman’s music as well as Mirages, a CD of chamber works by Dorothy Chang available through the Canadian Music Centre.
A specialist in contemporary music, Paolo is the Artistic Director of the Nu:BC Collective, a cutting-edge new music and multimedia arts ensemble in residence at the University of British Columbia. To date the Nu:BC Collective has premiered dozens of works by BC composers through its affiliation with the Sonic Boom Festival in, 2008, 2009, and 2010 and will once more present a concert at the festival in March of 2011. Nu:BC has also collaborated with dancers Emily Molnar, Alison Denham, and Billy Marchenski, media artist jamie griffiths, and electronic music specialists Robert Pritchard and Keith Hamel in the creation of several critically acclaimed interdisciplinary projects involving live, interactive video and electronics. In 2007, The Nu:BC Collective commissioned and premiered Doubling, by Jules-Leger winning composer Chris Paul Harman, as well as A Perfect Focus, by Vancouver composer Christopher Sivak. Upcoming projects with Nu:BC include the premiere of 22 Arguments for the Suspension of Disbelief, a new work written for the ensemble by Brian Cherney, at the Happening Festival in Calgary, AB. Also upcoming in February 2011 is an exciting collaboration with the BC Chinese Music Ensemble, funded by an Arts Partner Grant, where the combined groups, including Chinese and western instruments, will premiere six works by Chinese and Canadian composers.
In 2005, Paolo joined with the Continuum consort in commissioning a set of songs for voice and chamber ensemble by Dorothy Chang with text by BC poet Jan Zwicky. The ensemble premiered the work in Victoria, and were subsequently invited to the prestigious PAN Festival of New Music in Seoul, Korea, where they gave several repeat performances at the festival and at universities in South Korea. From 1998 to 2003, Paolo was the flutist and co-director of the Kylix New Music Ensemble. In its five-year tenure, Kylix premiered more than a dozen works, staged Peter Maxwell Davies’ work “Eight Songs for a Mad King” in Bloomington, Ann-Arbor, and Cincinnati, and was the invited ensemble at the venerable Indiana State Contemporary Music Festival in Terre Haute, IN. Paolo has premiered over seventy-five solo and chamber works, more than a dozen of which were written for him.
A graduate of the University of Ottawa and the Indiana University School of Music, where he received his Masters and Doctoral degrees, he is in demand as a teacher and clinician, and has presented masterclasses at the Indiana University, the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University, Acadia University, Indiana State University, and the University of Evansville, as well as contemporary techniques workshops as part of the 2004 Albany Symphony Orchestra Keys American Music Festival. He was Associate instructor of flute at the Indiana University School of Music for five years, has been on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp, and currently teaches flute at Kwantlen University, and coaches the Contemporary Players at the University of British Columbia. His principal teachers include Robert Aitken, Robert Cram, Thomas Robertello, and Patricia Creighton.