Paul Popiel

Paul Popiel
  • Dean
  • Conductor


D.M.A. Michigan State University; Postgraduate Diploma University of Bristol; M.M. University of Notre Dame; B.A. Truman State University

Paul W. Popiel is a distinguished conductor, music professor, and the current Dean of the School of Music at the University of Kansas, a role to which he was appointed in 2023. He previously served as the Director of Bands for thirteen years at Kansas, making him only the seventh person to hold this position in the band’s rich 125-year history.

In addition to his administrative duties, Popiel leads the Lawrence City Band in their summer concert series in scenic South Park and conducts the Crossroads Wind Symphony, featuring area music educators. His previous appointments include Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Oklahoma State University, as well as teaching in the public schools of Texas and Michigan.

Popiel recently completed a four-week professional conducting residency with the prestigious Osaka Shion Wind Orchestra in Japan. The resulting concert series was recorded for a special live-in-concert five-CD box set, showcasing the nine symphonies of composer James Barnes. This collection was released globally in December 2023.

A sought-after lecturer and performer, Popiel has made significant contributions across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. His performances have received acclaim, with several commercial CDs on labels such as Klavier, Naxos, Ecstatic, Summit, Cantaloupe, and Mark Custom.

Noteworthy milestones include Popiel’s Carnegie Hall debut in 2013, praised by the New York Times  and New York’s Feast of Music. In 2023, the KU Wind Ensemble, under Popiel’s direction, was honored with The American Prize for outstanding performance.

In recognition of his contributions to the field, Popiel was elected to the membership of the esteemed American Bandmasters Association and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2013.