Dr. Paul Vance

Dr. Paul Vance stands with a cello.

Paul Vance is Professor of Cello and Director of Orchestral Activities at Winona State University in southeastern Minnesota. He is an active soloist and chamber music player, and has performed in recital in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Dr. Vance grew up in suburban Minneapolis, and started his musical career there playing guitar in the “crass and ignorant word of rock and roll” (Frank Zappa’s words, obviously spoken in irony!). While on a European concert tour with Minnesota State University-Moorhead’s Concert Choir, Paul heard his first chamber music concert at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Inspired by this experience, he took his first cello lessons at the age of twenty. The cello has been the focal point of his musical activity since that time. A seasoned orchestral player, Dr. Vance was Principal Cellist of the Rochester (MN) Symphony Orchestra and Chorale from 1997 until 2008. He has also served as Principal Cellist of the Fargo-Moorhead Civic Opera Company Orchestra, and of Milwaukee’s “Music Under the Stars” Orchestra for the summer pops series at Washington Park. In addition, he has been a section cellist in the Lexington (KY) Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fort Wayne (IN) Philharmonic Orchestra, and in the professional core of the South Bend (IN) Symphony Orchestra. In recent months he has appeared as cellist in performances by Chamber Music Winona and Rochester’s Choral Arts Ensemble.

Vance holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Cello Performance from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Music and Stringed Instruments from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. His cello teachers have been Camilla Heller, Robert Jamieson, Jerome Jelinek, and Wolfgang Laufer. Dr. Vance studied with Tanya Remenikova for his recent sabbatical project involving performances of the Suites for Solo Cello by Benjamin Britten. He has had master classes and additional coaching with Pierre Fournier, Lynn Harrell, Irene Sharp, and Janos Starker.

Paul Vance plays a cello made by Chicago luthier Gary Garavaglia in 1985.


  • 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.