Paul Salamunovich was professor of music and director of choral activities at Loyola University and LMU from 1964 to 1991 and is now professor emeritus of music. He was recruited to Loyola in 1964 by Richard Trame, S.J., who wanted to improve the quality of the university’s choral music. He is credited with raising the level of music-making on campus to the highest form of academic excellence, bringing national renown to the Loyola and LMU Choruses. An expert in Gregorian chant and a master clinician, he has conducted or guest lectured at nearly 1,000 festivals, clinics, and workshops around the world. In 1969, Professor Salamunovich was recognized for his contributions in the field of sacred music, receiving a Papal Knighthood in the Order of St. Gregory the Great from Pope Paul VI. He also received the Distinguished Artist Award from the Music Center of Los Angeles County in 1995; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Choral Directors Association in 2000; and a Grammy nomination for recording “Lux Aeterna” and other choral works by Morten Lauridsen. Professor Salamunovich holds honorary doctorates from LMU and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. LMU’s Paul Salamunovich Award for Choral Excellence was established in his honor and is awarded annually to an outstanding graduating senior who has exhibited exemplary participation in the LMU choruses throughout his or her time at the university.
Following his graduation from Hollywood High School in 1945, Professor Salamunovich enlisted in the U.S. Navy and spent a year in Pearl Harbor. When he returned to California, he was invited by Roger Wagner, professor of music at Marymount College, to join the newly formed Los Angeles Concert Youth Chorus, which later evolved into the Roger Wagner Chorale. He was assistant conductor of the Roger Wagner Chorale from 1953 to 1977. In addition to LMU, Professor Salamunovich has held academic positions at a number of Southern California universities, including Mount St. Mary’s College and USC. Professor Salamunovich is music director emeritus of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, having served as music director and conductor from 1991 to 2001. He also served as director of music at St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood from 1949 to 2009, leading the choir in their regular services as well as in a number of high-profile performances, including singing for Pope John Paul II in a private audience at the Vatican. Professor Salamunovich has been responsible for conducting the choral segments for more than 100 movie soundtracks and television productions, including “The Godfather,” “First Knight,” “Air Force One,” “Peter Pan,” “ER,” “The Sum of All Fears” and “True Confessions.”