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Paul Phillips

Paul Phillips photo

Paul Phillips

Associate Professor
Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies
Associate Professor (Teaching)
M.M., University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
M.A., Columbia University
B.A. cum laude, Columbia University


Appointed Director of Orchestral Studies and Associate Professor (Teaching) of Music at Stanford University in 2017, Paul Phillips is a conductor, composer, and author who has conducted more than 60 orchestras, opera companies, and ballet troupes worldwide, including the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra and Choir, Orquesta Sinfónica de Salta (Argentina), Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Opera Providence, as well as numerous choruses. He has conducted recordings with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), and Brown University Orchestra, whose CD "Manhattan Intermezzo" became the #1 best-selling Naxos recording upon its release in January 2016. His conducting honors include 1st Prize in the NOS International Conductors Course (Holland) and Wiener Meisterkurse Conductors Course (Vienna), and 11 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

After studies at Eastman, Columbia, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Phillips began his career in Germany as Conducting Assistant to Michael Gielen at the Frankfurt Opera and 1st Kapellmeister at Stadttheater Lüneburg. Upon his selection for the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program, he returned to the US, holding positions with the Greensboro Symphony, Greensboro Opera, Maryland Symphony, Savannah Symphony, and Savannah Symphony Chorale prior to his appointment as Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University in 1989. He has also served as Associate Conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and Music Director/Conductor of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Masur, Otmar Suitner, and Gunther Schuller are among the conductors with whom he studied at the Salzburg "Mozarteum", Aspen, Tanglewood, LA Philharmonic Institute, Music Academy of the West, and other academies in the US and Europe. Phillips’s former conducting students include Jonathan Girard (Director of Orchestras, University of British Columbia), Charlie Alterman (Musical Director of "Next to Normal", "Pippin", and other Broadway shows), and Vinay Parameswaran (Assistant Conductor, Cleveland Orchestra). In 2016, he received the prestigious Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contribution to Teaching and Learning at Brown University.

An award-winning composer, Phillips has composed orchestral works, a ballet, choral music, song cycles, keyboard and chamber music, music for theatre, and works for young audiences in collaboration with singer-songwriter Bill Harley. Phillips's two-act opera "Weedpatch", with a libretto by Harley, will be premiered in March 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by North Cambridge Family Opera, which commissioned it upon selecting Phillips and Harley as the winners of its first Commission Competition.

Phillips’s reduced orchestration of Stravinsky’s opera "Mavra", published by Boosey & Hawkes, has been performed at Glyndebourne and other leading opera houses. His book "A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess" (Manchester University Press, 2010), a groundbreaking examination of the work of the British composer-novelist best known as the author of "A Clockwork Orange", has been hailed in the press as “prodigiously researched, elegantly written” and “seamlessly fascinating”. Phillips is also a noted music theorist whose article “The Enigma of Variations: A Study of Stravinsky’s Final Work for Orchestra” in "Music Analysis" is cited by Richard Taruskin in "Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions" as “the best exposition in print of Stravinsky’s serial methods.”