A native of California, Paul Wakabayashi studied violin with Jenny Rudin and viola with Bernard Zaslav(formerly of the Fine Arts Quartet). A student of Lillian Fuchs at the Manhattan School of Music, he worked closely with the American String Quartet as well as studying conducting with Glen Cortese and Allan Gilbert, being awarded the Kotschalk prize for excellence in chamber music upon graduation.
Long a specialist in chamber music, his teachers have included, amongst others, members of the Amadeus, Cleveland, Juilliard, Emerson, Guarneri, Griller and Hungarian String Quartet.
He was a founding member of the Cypress String Quartet as well as the Myriad Quartet(top prize winner of the Carmel International Chamber Music Competition) as well as a member of the Quarteto Olissipo and Trio Olissipo where the repertoire included not only the standard classical cannon but also quartets of Berio, Schulhoff, Bartok, Golijov and Ligeti. In addition he has performed with Arthur Balsam, Awadagin Pratt and the Mariposa Trio.
As a Classical and Baroque violist, he has performed with Divino Sospiro, Músicos do Tejo, Ensemble Baroque do Chiado, Flor da Música and Ensemble Dom Joao V.
He has given master classes in Faro, Artave, the Escola Profissional de Mirandela and the Escola Profissional de Viana do Castelo and for the past three years has played and taught in the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival. His Students have included winners of Jovens Músicos in both viola and chamber music.
He currently teaches viola and chamber music at the Academia Nacional Superior de Orquestra and at the University of Evora.
He has recorded for EMI, Koch and Newport Classics.