Paul Torkelson, DMA

Instructor of Graduate Conducting
Paul Torkelson


Paul Torkelson is currently director of choral studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he directs the symphonic choir and the Nevada Chamber Singers and teaches choral conducting.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, his choirs performed Handel's Messiah, Cherubini's Requiem with the Reno Chamber Orchestra and the Verdi Requiem with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra. The Nevada Chamber Singers were also invited to travel to Greece during the summer of 2013 for the Festival of the Aegean.

MidAmerica Productions welcomed Torkelson as an esteemed principal conductor-in-residence in 2008. Torkelson brings with him many years of musical expertise and conducting experience. He recently retired from his position as Zahn Chair of choral music at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where he also conducted performances of opera workshop, taught advanced conducting and was a member of the scholars faculty.

Torkelson earned his BME from Wartburg College where he was featured as a soloist with the Wartburg Choir. He holds an MM degree from Kansas State University and a DMA from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

He is a frequent guest clinician at state ACDA conventions and has conducted several All-State Choirs throughout the United States. In 1996, he conducted the 50th anniversary Iowa All-State Choir and in 1998, conducted the North Central ACDA Collegiate Honor Choir in Minneapolis, MN. Since 1998, he has conducted the Iowa Ambassadors of Music Chorus on a three-week European tour and traveled with them during the summer of 2012.

Under his direction, the Wartburg Choir performed at the ACDA National Convention in 1987 and the North Central regional convention in 1988, 1992 and 1998. Torkelson made his conducting debut with the Manhattan Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wartburg Choir in concert at Carnegie Hall in a concert produced by MidAmerica Productions. The Wartburg Choir has toured Europe on eight occasions under his direction. Of their 2004 performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post asserted that the Wartburg Choir "… has impeccable intonation and excellent diction, and was trained with rock-solid discipline."


  • DMA, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • MM, Kansas State University
  • B.A., Music Education, Wartburg College