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, Stanford Philharmonia, and Stanford Summer Symphony. With a repertoire of more than 1,000 works conducted in performance, Phillips has appeared 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 is also an accomplished composer, pianist, and author. Prior to his appointment at Stanford, Phillips was previously Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University in Rhode Island and Music Director/Conductor of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Massachusetts. He is Music Advisor and an Honorary Patron of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and currently serving his second term as President of the Western Region of CODA (College Orchestra Directors Association).
Phillips has conducted five recordings for Naxos with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), Slovak Philharmonic, and Brown University Orchestra, and also recorded with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. His conducting honors include 11 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, 1st Prize in the NOS International Conductors Course (Holland) and Wiener Meisterkurse Conductors Course (Vienna), and selection for the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program.
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 appointments at Brown University and as Associate Conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic.
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. In 2016, Phillips received the prestigious 2015 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, and is currently completing a commission from Sunset Piano for a new work for 12 pianos to be premiered at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral in February 2024. His reduced orchestration of Stravinsky’s opera Mavra, published by Boosey & Hawkes, is featured in Mavra/Iolanta, a DVD released in 2022 of the 2019 Bayerische Staatsoper production.
Phillips is the author of 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. The book has been hailed in the press as “prodigiously researched, elegantly written” and “seamlessly fascinating". His next book, The Devil Prefers Mozart: On Music and Musicians 1962-1993 by Anthony Burgess, is the first comprehensive collection of Burgess's writings on music. Phillips compiled, edited, and wrote commentary on the 75 writings in this volume, which will be released in January 2024. 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.”