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Paul Hoskin in Debica
Photo by Andrzej Kramarz

Debica Variations (7:21, mp3, 10,9MB)

Paul Hoskin plays clarinets and saxophones. Known mostly for his work with the contrabass clarinet. He believes that "the social aspects of improvisation (organizing, informal playing) are the crux of the music's importance...not simply as guides to sonic exploration, but also as hints for alternative ways of organizing and working as humans. And that the importance of sound is literally to rearrange perception and the constructs on which it is founded". Began his musical work with a program of self-education, playing the bass clarinet exclusively. A native of Seattle, Paul lived on both coasts and traveled globally. Collaborations have included the orchestral as well as numerous smaller formations. An accomplished solo performer, Hoskin extends the form both in terms of duration and sonority. His annual ninety minute contrabass clarinet solos were legendary. Performances take place in venues ranging from jazz festivals in Czechoslovakia to oyster bars in Jackson, Mississippi. As a New Yorker (1987-1995), Hoskin worked in innumerable ensemble settings as well as developing his skills as a solo performer. This work included the trio Trigger (with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Leslie Ross) and the Dierker/Hoskin/Meehan trio, with John Dierker and Sean Meehan. Though improvisation informs the work of these ensembles, compositional form (“language”) is an explicit element. Work with dancers (especially Linda Austin) also was a feature of Paul’s development. A longstanding member of a music/dance improvisation workshop, Hoskin worked on the development of vocabularies/structures that both dancers and musicians could use. Returning to Seattle (1996-2001), Paul involved himself with ensembles as well as countless ad hoc formations. Groups included: Tactile, with Lori Goldston and Robert Jenkins; UnFolkUs, with Rob Bageant, Bill Horist and Eveline Mueller-Graf; Bolt, with Angelina Baldoz, Aimee Sullivan, and Greg Powers; Jerman/Hoskin/Horist, with Jeph Jerman and Bill Horist. These groupings reflect Hoskin’s continuing involvement with improvisation. Paul also founded the Seattle Festival of Improvised Music in 1985. He currently resides in Astoria, Oregon. (

In the fall of 1986, Paul Hoskin was touring Central Europe.
Our friend from Pila, Krzysztof Kudla, took a chance and invited him to Poland. Debica was included at the last minute thanks to Andrzej Kramarz. Hoskin's playing and attitude made a big impression on us. He was like a messenger from the free world and especially from the free music world. His extended techniques on reeds and a very personal take on improvisation encouraged us to try our luck at it by ourselves. His wild and uncompromising music was amusing and inspiring at the same time. It was the very first presentation of freely improvised music in Debica. Paul Hoskin gave a solo improvised concert at Sniezka Culture Center on November 8, 1986. The excerpt above - restored by Ireneusz Socha from a cassette - has him playing E flat soprano clarinet.