Appointed Director of Orchestral Studies and Associate Professor (Teaching) of Music at Stanford in 2017, Paul Phillips is a conductor, composer, and author who has conducted more than 75 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, and recorded with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), and Brown University Orchestra. Engagements in 2018-19 include a Naxos recording with the Slovak Philharmonic; guest conducting the Mill Valley Philharmonic, CMEA-CCS Honor Orchestra (California), and Orquesta Filarmónica de Río Negro (Argentina). His conducting honors include 1st Prize in the NOS International Conductors Course (Holland) and Wiener Meisterkurse Conductors Course (Vienna), and 11 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

At Stanford, Phillips conducts the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia, and teaches conducting and courses that include "Russian Modernists: Stravinsky and Shostakovich" and "Harmonic Convergence: Music's Intersections with Science, Mathematics, History, and Literature". In January 2019, he led a Conductors Guild Conductor Training Workshop at Stanford featuring guest composer Gabriela Lena Frank.

After studies at Eastman, Columbia, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Phillips began his conducting career in Germany at the Frankfurt Opera and Stadttheater Lüneburg. Upon his selection for the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program, he returned to the US, holding posts 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, and Gunther Schuller are among the conductors with whom Phillips studied at the Salzburg "Mozarteum", Aspen, Tanglewood, LA Philharmonic Institute, Music Academy of the West, and other academies in the US and Europe. His former conducting students include Jonathan Girard (Director of Orchestras, University of British Columbia), Charlie Alterman (Musical Director of "Next to Normal", "Pippin", and other Broadway shows), and Vinay Parameswaran (Assistant Conductor, Cleveland Orchestra). In 2016, Phillips received the Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contribution to Teaching and Learning at Brown University.

An award-winning composer, he has composed orchestral works, a ballet, choral music, song cycles, keyboard and chamber music, music for theatre, and works for young audiences. In 2018, North Cambridge Family Opera premiered Phillips's two-act opera "Weedpatch", which it commissioned upon selecting Phillips and librettist Bill Harley as the winners of its first Commission Competition.

Phillips’s orchestration of Stravinsky’s opera "Mavra", published by Boosey & Hawkes, has been performed worldwide and his book "A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess" (Manchester University Press), a groundbreaking examination of the work of the famed British composer-novelist, 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.”

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor (Teaching), Music

Administrative Appointments

  • Chair, Conducting Major Curriculum Review, Stanford University Department of Music (2018 - Present)
  • Member, Curriculum Review Task Force, Stanford University Department of Music (2018 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contribution to Teaching and Learning, Brown University (2016)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Music Advisor, International Anthony Burgess Foundation (2015 - Present)
  • Honorary Patron, International Anthony Burgess Foundation (2010 - Present)
  • Member, College Music Society (1986 - Present)
  • Member, Conductors Guild (1986 - Present)
  • Publisher (Barnard Street Music), ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) (1984 - Present)
  • Composer, ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) (1984 - Present)

Professional Education

  • MM, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Orchestral Conducting (1982)
  • MA, Columbia University, Composition (1980)
  • BA cum laude, Columbia University, Music (1978)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

The relationship between music and politics: how music can reflect and influence major political issues of the day, from "The Marriage of Figaro" (Mozart, da Ponte) and the French Revolution; Verdi’s operas and politics in 19th-century Italy; Wagner controversies; Stravinsky and fascism; “Degenerate Music” in Nazi Germany; Shostakovich in the USSR; Radical Chic – Leonard Bernstein’s fundraiser for the Black Panthers; The Death of Klinghoffer and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and "Hamilton".


  • Naxos recording with Slovak Philharmonic, Slovak Philharmonic (8/25/2018 - 8/26/2018)

    conduct new recording of music by William Perry




    • William Perry, Composer, Independent
  • "Weedpatch" Opera, North Cambridge Family Opera (3/17/2018 - 3/25/2018)

    Premiere production of my new opera "Weedpatch"


    Cambridge, Massachusetts


    • Bill Harley, librettist, Independent

2019-20 Courses

All Publications

  • A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess Phillips, P. Manchester University Press. 2010