Professor of Music, Director of Orchestral Activities
Paul Phillips was appointed to the faculty of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in 1996 where he now serves as Professor of Music and Music Director of the Meadows Symphony Orchestra. Before joining the faculty of the Meadows School, Dr. Phillips served for 12 years as music director of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra in New London, and was only the third conductor to hold that position in the orchestra’s 50-year history. In his position with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, Phillips transformed the repertoire of the orchestra, recorded new works for compact disc release, raised the performance standards and brought exciting concerts to the region. Phillips’ achievements with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony were recognized by critics who wrote that he was “one the most influential musicians in Connecticut.” While serving in this position, Phillips was also professor of music at the University of Connecticut, where he held the position of chair of the Music Department and music director of the University of Connecticut Symphony Orchestra.
A native of Dallas, Phillips completed undergraduate studies at Southern Methodist University, where he studied with James Rives Jones. He also studied privately with Richard Burgin, former concertmaster and associate conductor of the Boston Symphony. While earning his Master of Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, Phillips studied with noted conductors David Effron and Gustav Meier. In 1980, he was appointed assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the time Robert Shaw was music director. He was selected for that position after winning an invitation-only competition sponsored by the orchestra.
Phillips has made many recordings of music of living composers. For Centaur he recorded the world premiere compact disc of works of composer Sydney Hodkinson, performed by the Eastern Connecticut Symphony and featuring soprano Renee Fleming, star of the Metropolitan Opera. His recording of composer Thomas Sleeper’s Symphony No. 1 was released in 2010. Dr. Phillips is also an active composer himself, and his composition, Midday, was enthusiastically received by the audience and critics at its premiere performance in Florida in April 2009.
Dr. Phillips has been a guest professor at the Liszt Academy of Music in Weimar, Germany, where he taught master classes in conducting and guest conducted the orchestra. In Dallas, his performances with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra and his guest conducting appearances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra have received consistent and enthusiastic critical acclaim. As a teacher he continues to work with gifted young orchestral musicians and conductors at the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU and at music festivals in the United States and abroad.