Music Music
Music was always a huge part of Paul’s life and a continual source of inspiration as well as a creative outlet. He learned to play the violin as a child, but what really captivated him was the guitar — especially the way it was played by his musical hero, Jimi Hendrix. 
“Once I heard Hendrix, I was hooked,” he said. “You could not get cooler than Jimi.” When Paul was 16, his mom gave him his first electric guitar, which she got at a thrift store for five dollars. “The guitar was a bright red, Japanese copy of a hollow-body Gibson, with crummy tone and noisy pickups, and I was thrilled to have it,” he said.  
“I'm...moved by the power of live music and I seek it out every chance I get.”
— Paul G. Allen
As he grew, music became more than a hobby, it gave Paul balance and renewed his energy. In college, he would unwind after a long night of programming by playing his guitar at one or two in the morning (much to the dismay of his fraternity brothers). He was always trying to push himself to get better and loved jamming with others. He formed his first real band with a group of fellow programmers in the early days of Microsoft. Those initial gigs were mainly birthdays and weddings. But eventually his bands, Grown Men, and later, The Underthinkers, would go on to record full-length albums filled with original music.  
Paul Allen with his guitar in 1970.
The cover for the Paul Allen and The Underthinkers album, "Everywhere At Once."
Paul Allen with his guitar in 1970.
The cover for the Paul Allen and The Underthinkers album, "Everywhere At Once."
Like he did in so many other areas of his life, Paul was also dedicated to helping and encouraging others. He supported a variety of music education programs and created DrumCore software to give songwriters and composers beats and grooves from more than a dozen famous percussionists and drummers (it was awarded Electronic Musician magazine’s 2007 Editor’s Choice award for best drum software). In addition, he established the Museum of Pop Culture’s Founders Award to celebrate artists who’ve made noteworthy contributions to music. 
Paul pursued making space more accessible in ways that would fuel space innovation — including SpaceShipOne, the Allen Telescope Array, and Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane by wingspan.
Paul's name is, of course, synonymous with Microsoft, the company he co-founded with his friend Bill Gates, which changed the trajectory of modern computing.
Seattle Seahawks
Pacific Northwest
Paul purchased the Seattle Seahawks NFL franchise in 1997, and since then the team has gone on to make three Super Bowl appearances.
Great Elephant Census
Great Elephant
The Great Elephant Census was a massive undertaking to survey the remaining savanna elephants across the African continent. Results of this survey shocked the world into action.
Tech for Good
Tech for
Paul believed technology could be leveraged to protect our planet, wildlife, and resources, and improve the lives of people everywhere.
Allen Institutes
The Allen Institute and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence lead cutting-edge science and making groundbreaking discoveries in bioscience and artificial intelligence research.