Paul Charles Nauert, 52, of Santa Cruz, California, died Friday, July 26, 2019, at home, surrounded by friends and family. He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Paul was born Oct. 14, 1966, in Columbia, Missouri, and was preceded in death by his parents, Charles G. Nauert, Jr. and Jean (Porter) Nauert.
Paul attended Shepard Boulevard Elementary School, Jefferson Junior High School and Hickman High School, graduating in 1985. He earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester and in music theory from the Eastman School of Music and a doctorate in music theory from Columbia University.
Paul was a well-regarded professor, composer and music theorist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he received awards for excellence in teaching in 1998 and 2012. In 2009, Paul was diagnosed with ALS. He eventually had to step down from his teaching responsibilities, but continued to compose music using computer hardware that tracked his eye movements and software that he helped develop. A CD of his compositions, “A Distant Music,” was released by New World Records in 2015. Many of his compositions are available for distribution through the composers’ collective Frog Peak Music. In addition to being an accomplished composer, Nauert made significant contributions to the field of music theory. His work has been published in flagship journals, including Perspectives of New Music, Computer Music Journal, Journal of Music Theory and Musical Quarterly.
Paul is survived by his husband, Robert Covington; his brother, Jon, and wife Jessamyn Tuttle; and many cousins, aunts and uncles. Paul’s ashes were scattered in a private ceremony in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. A memorial will be held by the music department at UCSC. Memorial donations in Paul Nauert’s name may be sent to the ALS Association Golden West Chapter, P.O. Box 565, Agoura Hills, CA 91376.