Acclaimed as a conductor “who was born to stand on a podium,” Paul Phillips is the Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies at Stanford University, where he also holds an academic appointment as Associate Professor of Music. With a repertoire of over 1000 works, he has conducted a wide range of music from the Renaissance to the present day. His conducting honors include 1st Prize in the NOS International Conductors Course in Holland, 1st Prize in the Wiener Meisterkurse Conductors Course in Vienna, and 11 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.
After beginning his professional career in German opera houses as Conducting Assistant to Michael Gielen at the Frankfurt Opera and 1st Kapellmeister/Chordirektor/Solorepetitor at Stadttheater Lüneburg, Paul returned to America upon his selection as Finalist in the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program. Back in the US, he held conducting positions with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra, Greensboro Opera, Savannah Symphony Orchestra, Savannah Symphony Chorale, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. Prior to his appointment at Stanford, he was Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University, and Music Director and Conductor of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
Paul has guest conducted the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Salta, Orquesta Filarmońica de Río Negro, and Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, among many others. He has led opera and ballet performances with the Boston Academy of Music, Opera Providence, Festival Ballet Providence, and Connecticut Concert Ballet, and recorded with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Brown University Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), and Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Brown University Orchestra performing in Sayles Hall on 22 November 2014 with pianist Jeffrey Biegel. Photo credit: Jerry LoFaro
Under his direction, the Brown University Orchestra, widely considered one of America’s finest collegiate orchestras, toured China and Ireland; played at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Faneuil Hall, and MIT’s Kresge Auditorium; performed with Itzhak Perlman, Dave Brubeck, Christopher O'Riley, Carol Wincenc, and other illustrious soloists; hosted Steve Reich, Steven Stucky, Nico Muhly, Joseph Schwantner, Lukas Foss, and other leading composers; and won 7 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. BUO activities included a Carnegie Hall concert with pianist Jeffrey Biegel; recording two CDs for Naxos (Manhattan Intermezzo and Anthony Burgess: Ballet Suite); a Gala performance of Beethoven’s 9th at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence; the US premieres of Marche pour une révolution and Petite Symphonie pour Strasbourg by Burgess and Dancing Morning Sunlight by the Taiwanese composer Ching-Mei Lin, and Rhode Island premieres of works by Philip Glass, Eric Nathan, and Wang Lu; and a performance at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College through a concert exchange with the Bard Conservatory Orchestra.
Curtain call on 9 May 2015 with the cast of Cavalleria Rusticana, performed by the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at the Academy of Music in Northampton, Massachusetts. From left: Emily Jaworski (Lola), Janice Edwards (Mama Lucia), Philip Lima (Alfio), Daniel Kamalic (Turiddu), Paul Phillips (conductor), Patrice Tiedemann (Santuzza), Jonathan Harvey (choral director). Photo credit: William Gross
As Music Director of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus from 1994-2017, Phillips led this organization to new artistic heights. Under his leadership, the Pioneer Valley Symphony represented Massachusetts in the Ford Made in America Project; performed Earshot readings of new music in cooperation with the American Composers Orchestra; recorded for Arizona University Recordings; established the Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2013; and performed numerous premieres, two semi-staged operas, and several ballets along with much of the standard orchestral and oratorio repertoire. William Bolcom, Peter Boyer, Alice Parker, William Perry, Joseph Schwantner, George Walker, Gwyneth Walker, Robert Ward, and Ted Wiprud are among the numerous composers who attended or participated in performances of their music led by Paul Phillips with the Pioneer Valley Symphony. The PVS undertook successful collaborations with many artists and arts organizations based in western Massachusetts, including Josh Simpson, Old Deerfield Productions, Amherst Ballet, Hampshire Choral Society, and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Under Phillips's direction, the PVS was profiled three times in Symphony Magazine, won three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, and received the 2013 New England Public Radio Arts & Humanities Award as Outstanding Organization