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SMU Meadows Maestro Paul Phillips to conduct Dallas Symphony Orchestra concerts March 20, 21 and 22

Former student Michelle Merrill to step in for Phillips at March 19 Meadows Symphony Orchestra performance

Meadows Symphony Orchestra conductor Paul Phillips will step in for Dallas Symphony Orchestra Music Director Jaap van Zweden and serve as guest conductor of the DSO on March 20, 21 and 22. Under Phillips’ baton, the DSO and guest pianist Anna Fedorova will perform the stirring Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2; Shostakovich’s Five Fragments; and Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony.

Phillips was originally scheduled to conduct the acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra (MSO) on March 19 at SMU Meadows’ Caruth Auditorium, but instead will be at the Meyerson Symphony Center rehearsing with the DSO. Taking Phillips’ place on the Meadows conductor platform that night will be Michelle Merrill, a former student of Phillips’ who was the only American among the four winners of the 2012 International Conductors Workshop and Competition. She has conducted such orchestras as the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Round Rock Symphony and the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic. With guest cellist Christopher Adkins (a Meadows faculty member and principal cellist for the DSO), the MSO will present two powerful scores: Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, a Hebraic rhapsody exploring the lamentations and trials of King Solomon, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, a piece originally composed in 1936 but not performed publicly until 1961 due to threat of repercussion by Stalin, who denounced Shostakovich as a creator of “chaos instead of music.”

The March 19 MSO concert takes place at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, located in the Owen Arts Center at 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students and SMU faculty and staff. For tickets or more information, call the Meadows ticket office at 214.768.2787.

Online ticket information for the March 20, 21 and 22 Dallas Symphony Orchestra performances with guest conductor Dr. Paul Phillips can be found at here. For more information about the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, call 214.692.0203.

About Paul Phillips

A 1974 SMU music graduate, Maestro Phillips joined the Meadows School of the Arts faculty in 1996 after earning his Master of Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He served for 12 years as music director of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and, while in that position, was professor of music at the University of Connecticut, where he was chair of the music department and director of the Symphony Orchestra. He also served as assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

As a conductor, he has recorded new works for compact disc release, taught master conducting classes around the world and served as guest conductor of internationally renowned symphonies.

Phillips is the first recipient of the Martha Raley Peak Endowed Centennial Chair in the Meadows School’s Division of Music. He directs the master’s degree program in conducting at Meadows and, as a teacher, closely works with 125 student musicians from all over the world in the Meadows Symphony Orchestra (MSO). During the last 17 years, concerts of the Meadows Symphony under Phillips’ direction have consistently received critical and public acclaim. Dallas Morning News music critic Scott Cantrell regularly includes MSO performances in his annual "Top Ten" outstanding classical concerts in Dallas-Fort Worth.

In addition to his work at SMU, Maestro Phillips has a long-standing relationship with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He conducted subscription concerts with the orchestra in 2010 and 2011, and collaborated (as conductor of the chamber orchestra) with Maestro van Zweden in performances of Britten’s War Requiem in 2012. He has produced many of the Dallas Symphony’s recordings made during the last five years, and currently acts as producer for the DSO radio broadcast series on WRR. He also frequently serves as cover conductor for the Dallas Symphony, assisting Maestro van Zweden and guest conductors in rehearsals and concerts.

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