The premiere of Paul's latest composition, Sweet Thunder for 12 Pianos, will take place on 9 February 2024 in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral with a repeat performance the following evening. Those concerts will also include Benjamin Gribble's Fall and Fly, which premiered on 14 September 2022, conducted by Paul, at the Flower Piano Festival in the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Dean Mermell produced this documentary about that event.
The Devil Prefers Mozart, a new book that Paul compiled and edited, is a comprehensive collection of writings on music and musicians by Anthony Burgess. The writings cover a 30-year period, 1962-1993, and a vast array of topics. Published by Carcanet Press, it will be released on 25 January 2024 in the UK and on 28 March in the US, and can be pre-ordered here.
SSO presented its Fall Concerts on 1 and 2 December 2023 in Bing Concert Hall, performing Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by Richard Strauss, Brahms Violin Concerto in D major, Griffes Poem, and The Incredible Flutist Ballet Suite by Walter Piston. Concerto Competition winners Richard Cheung '24 (violin) and Laura Futamura '24 (flute) were the featured soloists on these concerts. SSO will perform Till Eulenspiegel on its upcoming concert tour of France, taking place 16-30 June 2024, along with music by Berlioz, Hailstork, Saint-Saëns, and Bernstein.
That same weekend, Paul guest conducted the CODA Honor Symphony Orchestra in a program of music by Dvorak, Valerie Coleman, and Saint-Saëns plus his own Brownian Motion. The California Orchestra Directors Association sponsored this high school honor orchestra, which was hosted by Stanford University and performed in Bing Concert Hall on 2 December 2023.
On 11 November, Stanford Philharmonia presented the West Coast premiere of Dedication by William Bolcom as part of the California Festival, “A Celebration of New Music”, taking place statewide from 3-19 November. The balance of the concert, which took place in Bing Concert Hall, comprised Viennese music by Mozart, Johann Strauss II, and Schubert.
The Stanford Symphony Orchestra received rave reviews for its concert with Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros with the Wolf Pack, which Paul conducted on Sunday, 29 October 2023 in Frost Amphitheater. The San José Mercury News called the performance "an absolute triumph", echoed by popmatters describing it as "a majestic triumph…this night defies expectations of what can or can’t be done." Other glowing reviews have appeared online in San Francisco Bay Area Concerts and in The Stanford Daily, which "was impressed by how the orchestra was able to blend into the rock arrangements, creating a harmonious fusion." Produced by Stanford Live and Goldenvoice, the concert, which lasted three and a half hours, featured arrangements by Giancarlo Aquilanti of favorite Grateful Dead songs.
Mavra/Iolanta, released in December 2022, is a Blu-ray videorecording of the 2019 Bayerische Staatsoper production, which entwines these two operas using Paul's chamber arrangement of Stravinsky's Mavra; it was selected as a "Critic's Choice" in the July 2023 issue of Opera News. A new Naxos recording of the Complete Guitar Quartets of Anthony Burgess, recorded by the Mela Guitar Quartet, was released in September 2023; Paul wrote the liner notes for this recording.
This past summer, Paul led the Stanford Summer Symphony in a sold-out concert at Bing Concert Hall on Saturday, 29 July 2023. The program opened with the Afro-American Symphony (No. 1) by William Grant Still and ended with the "New World" Symphony (No. 9) by Antonin Dvorak. Between these two works was the West Coast premiere of The Silent Years by William Perry, featuring Michael Chertock as the piano soloist. The Silent Years is a suite of three rhapsodies for solo piano and orchestra based on Perry's music for The Beloved Rogue (starring John Barrymore), Blood and Sand (starring Rudolf Valentino), and The Gold Rush (starring Charlie Chaplin). Chertock and Phillips premiered The Silent Years and recorded it with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland) for Naxos on the album Music for Great Films of the Silent Era under the supervision of William Perry, who attended the Stanford performance.
A profile of Paul appeared in the April 2023 issue of Punch Magazine. In July 2023, he lectured and guest conducted at the Montecito International Music Festival in Thousand Oaks, California, and has been invited to return in 2024. Paul is currently in his second year as President of the Western Region of the College Orchestra Directors Association and serves on CODA's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Committee. At Stanford, Paul led the Music Department's DEI Committee from 2021-23.
In May 2023, Paul conducted concerts in Bing Concert Hall with Stanford Philharmonia and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra featuring winners of the 2023 Concerto Competition. On 13 May, flutists Jenny Xiong '24 and Daniel Sun '25 performed Franz Doppler's Concerto for Two Flutes in D Minor, and alto saxophonist Zachary Lin '26 played André Waignein's Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, with Schumann's Manfred Overture and Sibelius's Symphony No. 7 completing the SP program. On 19 and 20 May, pianist Roger Xia '24 performed Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor; the California premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain Suite opened the concert, which concluded with Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz.
Videos of most SSO, SP, and SSS performances from 2017-2023 can be viewed at the Stanford Orchestras YouTube channel.
MUSIC FOR TWELVE PIANOS presented by SUNSET PIANO
Friday, 9 February 2024 at 7:00pm • Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Saturday, 10 February 2024 at 7:00pm • Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Program: PAUL PHILLIPS Sweet Thunder (world premiere) • BENJAMIN GRIBBLE Fall and Fly
STANFORD PHILHARMONIA with pianist Stephen Prutsman
Saturday, 24 February 2024 at 7:30pm • Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University
Program: LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Coriolanus Overture • IGOR STRAVINSKY Suites Nos. 1 & 2 for Small Orchestra • MAURICE RAVEL Ma mère l'oye (Mother Goose Suite) • LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, "Emperor"
STANFORD SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & STANFORD SYMPHONIC CHOIR with soprano Maya Kherani and baritone Ken Goodson
Friday, 8 March and Saturday, 9 March 2024 • both performances at 7:30pm in Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University
Program: GUSTAV MAHLER Symphony No. 4 (conducted by Paul Phillips) • RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Dona Nobis Pacem (conducted by Stephen Sano)
BAY AREA RAINBOW SYMPHONY with violinist Michael Long
Saturday, 13 April 2024 at 7:30pm • The Wilsey Center's Atrium / War Memorial and Performing Arts Center / 301 Van Ness Avenue / San Francisco
Program: HILDING ROSENBERG Overture to Marionettes (1939) • BENJAMIN BRITTEN Five Courtly Dances from Gloriana • WANG LU Surge (West Coast premiere) • CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor • WILLIAM DAWSON Negro Folk Symphony