In Memory of Paul Pizner (1933-2009)

Paul Pizner, Roseville Big Band director Paul led the Roseville Big Band's concert at the Acapulco Ministry of Culture in 1989.
Former Role in Roseville Big Band: 


Member during: 

1988 through 1989


Hamline University music faculty

Holding a Ph. D. in music education from the University of Illinois, Paul was Director of Bands and Director of Jazz Studies at Hamline University in St. Paul. He began directing the Roseville Big Band shortly before his sabbatical from Hamline began. He succeeded interim director Sam Marks.

Paul brought an exciting new repertoire to the band, including many pieces borrowed from the Hamline Jazz Band's library. He also established the tradition of sit-in nights, which the band continues to this day.

Early in his music career, Paul played alto sax in the Glenn Miller band. He joined the Hamline University faculty in 1961.

One of the highlights of Paul's leadership of the band was the band's trip to Acapulco, Mexico, in March, 1989. The trip included four performances in the city.

In addition to his student ensembles at Hamline University, Paul formed the Just Friends big band from Hamline alumni and other adult musicians. The nucleus of that group was a set of Hamline grads, including Roy Henline, John Curlee, and Mike Park. He also conducted the Northern Winds concert band in Bloomington, Minnesota.

In the fall of 2001, Paul retired to Arizona. Lead alto sax player Adam Bestler now leads the Just Friends big band.

Born February 5, 1933, Paul passed away in Mesa, Arizona, April 18, 2009.

At the memorial service for Paul, held May Friday, May 22, 2009, in Sundin Music Hall on the Hamline University campus, friends and relatives paid tribute to Paul and recounted the positive effect he'd had on their lives. John Koziol led the Paul Pizner Memorial Big Band in musical selections chosen by the family and friends to represent some of Paul's musical favorites, several of which were from the Stan Kenton repertoire: Big Schwing Face, A Little Minor Booze, My Funny Valentine, Feels So Good, Send in the Clowns, MacArthur Park, and Groove Blues. The Roseville Big Band was represented among the performers: John Curlee and Mike Park (trumpets/flugelhorns), Roy Henline (tenor trombone), and Glen Newton (tenor and bass trombones) .

This page was last updated
Friday, February 07, 2020.

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