Paul Cosme

Graduate Assistant

Paul Gabriel L. Cosme (b. 2000) is a Filipino composer, interdisciplinary scholar, and writer who blends traditions and breaks boundaries to narrate stories of home, loss, and recovery.

As a composer, Paul seeks to syncretize various forms and sounds from Pacific Asian and Western Classical music traditions. At times, he also scores short films and theatrical works by Asian artists who tackle themes from classical folklore to current social issues. Paul’s works have been performed in the Philippines, Germany, and the United States, and he also improvises and performs his works with jazz, ethnic, and traditional artists and ensembles from Chicago, New York, the Twin Cities, Germany, and the Philippines. He also performs with gamelan ensembles and plays Filipino traditional instruments. In 2020, Paul composed a clarinet quintet that engages his memories of the George Floyd protests while living in the Twin Cities. This piece was published in the UCLA Contemporary Music Score Collection. Paul is also a JACK Studio artist where he will collaborate with the JACK Quartet in 2023.

As a scholar, Paul’s research focuses on the making of the Filipino national culture and musical nationalisms–from folk, “high” art, to pop–during the 20th and 21st centuries. His recent work critically examines the life of Filipino National Artist Lucrecia “King” Kasilag, her compositions, her contributions to national music and culture, and her relationship to the larger sociopolitical landscape in the Philippines. Paul’s current project investigates the developments in Original Pinoy Music (OPM) in the 21st century and its relationship to the Filipino national identity.

Currently, Paul is at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa as a graduate student in music composition and as a Graduate Degree Fellow at the East-West Center. A winner of the Lila Bell Acheson Wallace Endowed Prize in Music, Paul graduated as Summa cum Laude from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota where he majored in Music and International Studies. There, he studied composition and counterpoint with Randy Bauer and Victoria Malawey. His piano teachers included Myrna Vinarao, Thomas Weber, Mark Mazullo, and Claudia Chen.

Paul loves dogs, the morning dew, Beethoven op. 132, Pinoy indie music, mangoes, Haruki Murakami, and his favorite Filipino dish—sinigang.