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He co-founded the American Composers Forum in 1973.
In 1983 he became the Minnesota Orchestra's composer-in-residence, and five years later he took a similar post with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Paulus is best known for his 1982 opera The Postman Always Rings Twice, to a libretto by Colin Graham based on James M Cain's 1934 novel of the same name. It was written for the Opera Theatre of St Louis, and he composed four further operas for the same company. He wrote nearly sixty orchestral works and more than one-hundred-and-fifty choral works, including the Holocaust oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn, a Stabat Mater and the anthem Pilgrims' Hymn.
His much-performed and recorded music is tonal, melodic, lush and romantic sounding.
Paulus, a prolific composer of more than five hundred works, suffered a stroke in July 2013 and died in Minnesota from the ensuing complications the following year, on 19 October 2014, aged sixty-five.
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