PAUL PHILLIPS Biography
PAUL PHILLIPS is the Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies and Associate Professor of Music at Stanford University, where he conducts the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia. Appointed to the Stanford faculty in 2017, he is also Music Advisor and an Honorary Patron of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and previously served as Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University and Music Director/Conductor of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Phillips is a conductor, composer, and author who has conducted more than 75 orchestras, opera companies, choirs, and ballet troupes worldwide, including the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra and Choir, Orquesta Sinfónica de Salta and Orquesta Filarmońica de Río Negro (Argentina), Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Opera Providence. He has conducted five recordings for Naxos with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and Brown University Orchestra, whose CD Manhattan Intermezzo became the #1 best-selling Naxos recording upon its release in January 2016. He has also conducted two recordings with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Phillips's conducting honors include 1st Prize in the NOS International Conductors Course (Holland) and Wiener Meisterkurse Conductors Course (Vienna), and eleven 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 U.S., 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, Seiji Ozawa, and Gunther Schuller are among the conductors with whom Phillips studied at Tanglewood, Aspen, the Salzburg “Mozarteum,” LA Philharmonic Institute, Music Academy of the West, and other festivals in the U.S. and Europe. His former conducting students include Vinay Parameswaran (Associate Conductor, Cleveland Orchestra), Jonathan Girard (Director of Orchestras, University of British Columbia), and Charlie Alterman (Musical Director of Next to Normal, Pippin, and other Broadway shows). In 2016, Phillips 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, ballet, opera, choral music, song cycles, keyboard and chamber music, music for theatre, and works for young audiences. North Cambridge Family Opera commissioned his opera Weedpatch, which it premiered in March 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His reduced orchestration of Stravinsky’s opera Mavra, published by Boosey & Hawkes, has been performed at Glyndebourne and other leading opera houses, while his book A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess, 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.”