PAUL WINTER's musical realm has long embraced the traditions of the world's cultures, as well as the extraordinary voices of what he refers to as "the greater symphony of the Earth." His concert tours and recording expeditions have taken him to thirty-seven countries and to wilderness areas on six continents, into which he has traveled on rafts, mules, dog sleds, horses, kayaks, sailboats, steamers, tug-boats and Land Rovers.

Paul's journey started in Altoona, Pennsylvania, where he began playing drums, piano and clarinet after the age of five, and then fell in love with saxophone in the fourth grade. Playing in small bands with his schoolmates, first in 'The Little German Band', then a Dixieland band, and finally a nine-piece dance band known as 'The Silver Liners', he became enthralled first with big band music, and by the small be-bop groups of the 1950s, and embarked on his first professional tour at the age of seventeen.

At Northwestern University in Chicago Winter formed a jazz sextet, which won the 1961 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival and was signed to a contract with Columbia Records by the legendary producer John Hammond. In 1962 the Paul Winter Sextet was sent by the U.S. State Department on a six-month tour of twenty-three countries of Latin America. That 6-month tour of Latin America affected Winter in many ways, proving to be a true mingling of cultures and an exchange of musical and social ideas. The Sextet became one of the first groups to assimilate the syncopations of Brazil's bossa nova into its sound and later, at the invitation of Jackie Kennedy, it became the first jazz group to officially perform at the White House.

Brazil became a second home for Paul in the mid-'60s where he recorded several albums. Brazilian guitar, Afro-Brazilian percussion, and the symphonic music of Villa-Lobos inspired the aural-vision of the new ensemble he would call the Paul Winter Consort. Launched in 1967, the Consort became the forum for the whole world of diverse music which Paul loved. Paul Winter remembers, "I borrowed the name 'consort' from the ensembles of Shakespeare's time, the housebands of the Elizabethan Theater, which adventurously blended woodwinds, strings and percussion, the same families of instruments I wanted to combine in our 'contemporary' consort."

Hearing the songs of humpback whales for the first time in 1968 further expanded Winter's concept of a musical community. The haunting, bluesy communal celebration of a howling pack of wolves and the beautifully complex songs of the whales planted the seeds of ideas that blossomed on a number of Winter's later albums. The rich sound textures and special blend of the distinctive acoustic instrumental voices of Paul Winter and the Consort give Winter's Earth Music its unique and alluring quality; the recorded sounds from the natural world are interwoven with classical and ethnic traditions, the whole infused with the spontaneous spirit of jazz.

Winter's forming of Living Music Records in 1980 has created the recording forum for the exploration of this musical-ecological sound-vision, enabling the musicians to record their special Earth Music and reach the human community with their music of the wider earth community. Winner of four Grammy Awards and six Grammy nominations, the timeless music of Living Music Records is usually recorded in Winter's barn-studio surrounded by protected woodland, sometimes in natural acoustic spaces such as the Grand Canyon, and frequently beneath the vaults of the Cathedral of St John the Divine, the world's largest Gothic cathedral where the Consort are artists-in-residence. It is here under the vast spans of the Cathedral that the Consort perform their major annual celebrations. "People get a sense of community - a sense of the whole wide community of life, which is one of the best things we could do with our music", says Winter, whose Winter and Summer Solstice Celebrations, and Earth Mass performed each Feast of St Francis, are among the most popular seasonal events in New York City.

Bringing vitality through music and awakening people to the plight of endangered species through the beauty of their sounds, Paul Winter has performed over 2,000 concerts in major concert halls of the Americas, Europe and Asia, in major cathedrals such as Washington's National Cathedral, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and New York's St. John the Divine, and in such places as the White House, the Grand Canyon, the Negev Desert in Israel and the palace of the Crown Prince of Japan.

In recognition of his musical contributions to the environment, Winter has received a Global 500 Award from the United Nations, the Award of Excellence from the United Nations Environment Program, the Joseph Wood Krutch Medal for service to animals from the United States Humane Society, and the Peace Abbey's Courage of Conscience Award, among others. Recently his work as musician and as musical ambassador for the natural world has been honored with the Connecticut Music Educators' Association Music Advocate of the Year Award, an Alumni Merit Award from Northwestern University, the National Abor Day's Promise to the Earth Award, an honorary doctorate from Juniata College, Pennsylvania, and the Spirit of the City Award presented at New York's Cathedral of St John the Divine.