(650) 498-6957
Braun Music Center Rm. 121

Paul Phillips

Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies
Associate Professor
Area(s) of Expertise
Degrees / Education
MM, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Orchestral Conducting (1982)
MA, Columbia University, Composition (1980)
BA cum laude, Columbia University, Music (1978)

Paul Phillips, Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies and Associate Professor of Music, is a conductor, composer, pianist, and author who has conducted more than 75 orchestras, opera companies, and ballet troupes worldwide, including the San Francisco Symphony, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra and Choir, and Paul Taylor Dance Company. He has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, and many other great classical and jazz soloists, and won 11 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, working with Steve Reich, Philip Glass, William Bolcom, and many other leading composers. Additional honors include 1st Prize in the NOS International Conductors Course (Holland) and Wiener Meisterkurse Conductors Course (Vienna). Phillips has conducted five recordings for Naxos with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), Slovak Philharmonic, and Brown University Orchestra, and two with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

At Stanford, Phillips conducts the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Philharmonia, Stanford Summer Symphony, and Stanford University Ragtime Ensemble, and teaches conducting, "Russian Modernists: Stravinsky and Shostakovich", "Harmonic Convergence: Music's Intersections with Science, Mathematics, History, and Literature", "Black Music Revealed", and “Orchestra Online”.

Phillips attended Eastman, Columbia, and Cincinnati plus Tanglewood, Aspen, and other music festivals, where he studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Gunther Schuller, and many others. He began his career at the Frankfurt Opera and Stadttheater Lüneburg, returning from Germany upon his selection for the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program. Following posts with the Greensboro Symphony, Greensboro Opera, and Savannah Symphony, he became Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University in 1989, also serving as Associate Conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Music Director/Conductor of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. In 2016, Phillips received the Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contribution to Teaching and Learning at Brown University, and he is currently President of the Western Region of CODA (College Orchestra Directors Association). His past conducting students include Vinay Parameswaran (former Associate Conductor, Cleveland Orchestra) and Charlie Alterman (Musical Director of "Next to Normal", "Pippin", and other Broadway shows).

With a repertoire of approximately 1000 works, Phillips has conducted much of the standard repertoire, including opera and musical theatre ranging from "Don Giovanni" to "Sweeney Todd". He has worked extensively with student musicians and audiences as Youth Concert Conductor of the Maryland Symphony and conductor of numerous All-State orchestras. An accomplished pianist, Phillips has recorded for film and television, and performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Carnegie Recital Hall, and Lincoln Center. His compositions include orchestral works, a ballet, choral music, song cycles, keyboard and chamber music, music for theatre, and works for young audiences. In 2018, North Cambridge Family Opera premiered his opera "Weedpatch", winner of its first Commission Competition. His orchestration of Stravinsky’s opera "Mavra", published in 2010 by Boosey & Hawkes, has been performed worldwide.

Phillips’s book "A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess”, a groundbreaking examination of the work of the famed British composer-novelist, has been hailed in the press as “prodigiously researched, elegantly written” and “seamlessly fascinating”. He 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.”