Paul Russell Critser, age 66, passed away Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Paul was born on October 25, 1955, in Conde, SD. Paul is preceded in death by his parents, Shirley and William Critser, and brother David Critser. He is survived by his former wife Peggy Greb; brothers Stephen Critser and wife Kathy of Delaware, OH, John Critser and wife Cathy of Overland Park, KS; and nephews and nieces Bryan, Lisa, Michelle and Zachary Critser, Colleen Schiffer, Katy Ries and Jack Critser.
Throughout his life, Paul had a successful and varied music career as a performer, conductor, composer, and music teacher. He held degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Paul was the longest-serving Director of Tuesday Musical Club String Ensemble until his retirement last year. He founded and directed the Eastern Pittsburgh Youth Orchestra in the early 2000s. Paul was also a beloved cello teacher and had a long-running private studio in his home in Mt. Lebanon until 2017 when he moved north of Pittsburgh.
Paul performed in the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra and Wheeling Symphony for many years. He also was an active freelancer and performed with a local string quartet.
A prolific arranger of music, Paul created numerous pieces for the string ensemble and his quartet, as well as other local chamber groups including the Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh. He arranged music in conjunction with his father for Upper St. Clair High School and other local high schools. Paul’s vast library of original compositions includes a full musical, an original woodwind quintet, a stage score, and many pieces for string orchestra and full orchestra.
Outside of music, Paul was an avid road cyclist, participating in local teams and races and logging thousands of miles a year. He regularly participated in the annual Ride the Rockies and Bicycle Colorado tours each summer.
His kind and gentle heart will be missed by many.
No public service is scheduled. Friends are encouraged to attend the world premiere of his work, The Commute, by the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra (edgewoodsymphony.org) as part of its American Serenade on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at 7:30 p.m., at Levinson Auditorium of the JCC, 5738 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements are entrusted to RICHARD D. COLE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 328 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143.