Paul Phillips, Music Director and Conductor


Paul PhillipsPaul Phillips, Director of Orchestral Studies and Associate Professor of Music at Stanford University, previously served as Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University from 1989-2017, and as Music Director and Conductor of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Massachusetts from 1994-2017. Acclaimed as a conductor, composer, and author, he has conducted more than sixty 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. He has recorded with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), and Brown University Orchestra, whose CD Manhattan Intermezzo, featuring pianist Jeffrey Biegel, became the #1 best-selling Naxos recording worldwide soon after its release in January 2016. Phillips’s conducting honors include 1st Prize in the NOS International Conductors Course (Holland) and Wiener Meisterkurse Conductors Course (Vienna), selection for the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program, and eleven ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. After studies at Eastman, Columbia, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he began his professional career as an opera coach and conductor at the Frankfurt Opera and Stadttheater Lüneburg in Germany before returning to the US, where he subsequently held positions with the Greensboro Symphony, Greensboro Opera, Savannah Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and other orchestras and opera companies. His conducting teachers at Tanglewood, Aspen, and other music festivals include Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, and Gunther Schuller. Phillips is also an award-winning composer whose two-act opera Weedpatch, with a libretto by two-time Grammy winner Bill Harley, will premiere in March 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. North Cambridge Family Opera commissioned the opera, set in California’s Central Valley in 1940, upon choosing Phillips as the winner of its first Commission Competition. His other compositions include orchestral works (Brownian Motion, Black Notes and White, Wave, Brass Knuckles), a ballet (Celestial Harmonies), choral music (Three Burgess Lyrics), song cycles (Battle-Pieces, Miracle Songs), chamber music (A/B, for actor and chamber ensemble), music for the stage (War Music, based on Christopher Logue’s contemporary retelling of The Iliad), and works for young audiences (Come On Out and Play, Jack and the Beanstalk). Phillips’s reduced orchestration of Stravinsky’s opera Mavra, published by Boosey & Hawkes, has been performed at Glyndebourne and other renowned 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”. Also noted for his work as a music theorist, Phillips’s article “The Enigma of Variations: A Study of Stravinsky’s Final Work for Orchestra” in Music Analysis is cited by musicologist Richard Taruskin in Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions as “the best exposition in print of Stravinsky’s serial methods.” For further information, visit