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Paul Henning's piano and orchestra album Breaking Through blends modern sensibilities with a nostalgic Americana voice.  Both soaring and intimate, his music features simple chorale-like melodies with lush orchestration.  Hints of Celtic folk tunes and Shaker melodies pepper the deeply-felt pieces. The album features piano solos performed by the composer himself, recorded live with a full 48-piece studio orchestra. The result? A sweeping musical vista embodying the spirit of the heartland, but with a 21st-century point of view. 
Breaking Through consists of 8 tracks:

Cover photo:  "Paintbrush on the Palouse"

Photo by Alison Meyer

1.  Breaking Through  (6:49)

Breaking Through - Paul Henning

2.  Exhilaration  (4:02)

Exhilaration - Paul Henning

3.  Inside of Me  (5:50)

Inside Of Me - Paul Henning

4.  My Home  (4:33)

My Home - Paul Henning

5.  Deep Roots  (6:58)

Deep Roots - Paul Henning

6.  Getting There  (4:03)

Getting There - Paul Henning

7.  A Bit of Luck  (3:43)

A Bit Of Luck - Paul Henning

8.  Days Gone By  (5:52)

Days Gone By - Paul Henning
Take a scenic journey with "Breaking Through" on YouTube


"Paul's music is infused with an effortless energy, enthusiasm, and excitement . . . How beautiful!"


William Ross, composer & arranger

"A spectacular and moving album . . .
Beautiful music that evokes a rich landscape of spirit and emotions."

Christopher Lennertz, film composer

"Both lively and plush, 'Breaking Through' brims with American pastoral optimism.  You'll want to be a part of Paul's exuberant and joyous journey."

Christopher Tin, Grammy-winning composer

"Wonderful melodies, superb orchestration, and terrific performances by Paul and the orchestra. Paul takes the listener on a 'melodic journey' of emotions that is really a breath of fresh air."

Richard Kaufman, conductor

"Paul Henning's new album 'Breaking Through' is heart warming. No matter what the tempo, there is a calming peace about the music . . ." 


Cynthia Holland, listener

"Paul has used his considerable talents to create this tour-de-force and we, the audience, are lucky to be the recipients of something beautiful and inspiring."

Dave Black, Alfred Music Publishing


"The idea of writing an original album for piano and orchestra first came to me in 2004.  At the time, I was unsure about what kind of music it should be, but I liked the thought of writing my own style of music, without any influence or limitations.  I also knew that I wanted this music to be melodic, exciting, beautiful, soaring, and moving – perhaps with an 'americana feel' – but I didn't quite know how to start with a project of this magnitude.  It was an overwhelming yet exciting feeling."



"Years passed without writing a single note.  My life as a working violinist, orchestrator and arranger kept me from pursuing the vision I had for this album.  Finally, in August of 2007, I put the first notes down on paper.  What appeared was the first track, 'Breaking Through,' which would eventually became the name of the entire project – and what I hoped would become my 'breakthrough' album."

"After spending nearly a year composing, orchestrating and refining the rest of the scores, I then faced the reality of having to secure funding to record the album.  With the help of friends and colleagues, I eventually overcame that challenge.  The recording sessions took place at the legendary Capitol Records Studios – a place steeped in history, and somewhere I have played many times as a violinist for other artists' albums and scores.  For me to play there had become routine, but to have the opportunity to record my own music there was truly special."

"I performed and recorded the piano parts for the entire album – 42 minutes of piano music plus an additional 27 minutes of piano overdubs – all in the same day.  A very strenuous day.  The greatest reward came the following week, when I was finally able to hear the music I had worked on for so long come to life with a 42 piece orchestra! What had been many thousands of tiny notes on paper became, for the first time, real."

"The orchestra was conducted by my good friend, Wataru Hokoyama. The album also prominently features the lovely solos of flutist Amy Tatum, oboist Lara Wickes, English horn player Bernadette Avila, and French horn player Steve Becknell, among the many other talented studio musicians and colleagues who performed in the orchestra."

Photo by Kenneth Selko

"At long last, I can share the fruit of all this labor – all the years of brainstorming, head scratching, composing, orchestrating, recording and mixing.  What started as a simple idea many years ago eventually grew to an album I am incredibly proud of.  I truly hope this music lifts you, inspires you, and while you are listening... allows you to forget about the problems we face in this world and focus instead on the wonderful place we all call home."
– Paul Henning, January 2017

"This album is dedicated to my father, Roger Henning, who passed away before he was able to see its completion.  He was my biggest fan, and my greatest supporter.  It was his constant encouragement that made this project go from idea to fruition. Rest in peace, and I love you lots."


Wataru Hokoyama conducts the "Breaking Through" String section at Capitol Records, Studio A.


Photo by Dan Goldwasser



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