Paul Schoenfeld (born Pinchas Schoenfeld was born in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. He began to take piano lessons at the age of six, and wrote his first composition a year later. Among his teachers were Julius Chajes, Ozan Marsh and Rudolf Serkin. He holds a B.A. degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Doctor of Music Arts degree from the University of Arizona. Schoenfeld was formerly an active concert pianist, as a soloist and with groups including Music from Marlboro. With violinist Sergiu Luca he recorded the complete violin and piano works of Béla Bartók. He premiered his own piano concerto, “Four Parables” with the Toledo Symphony in 1983.
His most well-known composition, Café Music, was commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and inspired by Schoenfeld's turn as house pianist at Murray's steakhouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It received its premiere during an SPCO chamber concert in January, 1987 with Schoenfeld at the piano. In 1994, the same year he was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize, an evening of Schoenfeld's pieces was presented at Reinberger Hall by violinist Lev Polyakin and other members of the Cleveland Orchestra with the composer at the piano.
Schoenfeld's song cycle “Camp Songs” was commissioned by Seattle's Music of Remembrance (MOR) and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2003. Schoenfeld is a Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. Mr. Schoenfeld is also a dedicated scholar of the Talmud and of mathematics.