Residency info A composer residency can be an amazing opportunity for your ensemble to capitalize on performing contemporary music. Philip has participated in many composer residencies, inclduing two Music Alive national residencies with orchestras, and has advised on several others as a consultant.
Premiere: July 20, 2014, National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, Purchase, New York. David Robertson, conductor
Commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America
America the Beautiful, beloved as a favorite patriotic hymn of many Americans, in some cases doubles as the U.S.’s unofficial second national anthem. The timeless words of Katharine Lee Bates set to Samuel A. Ward’s melody evoke the good and peaceful characteristics of our country.
This version, originally composed for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America as an encore for their 2014 tour, can be performed with or without chorus and/or audience participation. It is meant to portray the energy and optimism that our nation’s best young musicians experience as they combine their collective talents for an inspired summer of music creation.
The National Youth Orchestra of the USA performs America the Beautiful
Premiere: April 18, 2009, Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Bridget-Michaele Reischl, conductor
Arc of Visibility is inspired by a series of black-and-white photographs on the theme of “moonlight.” In one of the photographs, a lighthouse stands in near total blackness, the top of which is illuminated by the moon to mysterious and haunting effect.
The lighthouse image led me to discover the nautical term “arc of visibility,” the definition of which is “the portion of the horizon over which a lighted aid to navigation is visible from seaward.” With this in mind, Arc of Visibility is a navigation of musical waters by moonlight, through varying winds and weather.
Philip talks about the inspiration behind Arc of Visibility
Premiere: July 3, 2005, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, Boulder, Colorado. Michael Christie, conductor Chronicle was commissioned to accompany a short film on a concert where several pieces were to accompany silent films projected above the orchestra. The film that this music accompanies, also titled Chronicle, is an abstract portrait of a young woman floating dreamlike in water. An open book, the chronicle from which the film’s title is derived, appears periodically throughout the film, although its meaning is left open to interpretation.
Premiere: March 28, 2000; The Juilliard Symphony, Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor; Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center; New York
Although there is no specific program for The Manhattan Chase, this composition is certainly dramatic and descriptive. Whereas the title may suggest a depiction of a certain financial institution (pun intended), the large-scale ideas in the piece are in fact inspired by the rhythms, sounds, and perceptions of New York. The “chase” in the title can be the daily aggregate frenzy of life in a metropolis, or perhaps a more specific and individual escapade.
The exciting opening and spiky rhythms of the first section of the piece constitute the first part of the chase. As these motives are elaborated upon, the lyrical theme of the composition is hinted at and foreshadowed. This theme, though, is never fully realized until well after the tempo winds down and the strings are allowed to breathe expansively. This second section is majestic and open in feeling, and suggests a cool night in the park, where one can take a breath, step back and stand in awe of the enormity of the city.
After the initial chase material returns, a new sprightly theme is introduced in the clarinet in 6/8 time. The entire orchestra soon picks up this theme, and the theme is developed and traded amongst the different sections of the ensemble. This third, scherzo-like section is lively and less serious than the first two sections, and thus portrays the city in a lighter manner. As the composition progresses, these main themes and their motivic counterparts are increasingly sounded simultaneously, occasionally merging with one another. For instance, the broad, lyrical theme returns, albeit in a different context within the scherzo material, illustrating our ever-changing personal perceptions of the metropolis. The chase continues and builds to an animated coda.
Premiere: December 8, 2002; New York Youth Symphony, Paul Haas, conductor; Carnegie Hall; New York
Anyone who knows me has heard me wax rhapsodic, at one time or another, about my early morning runs along Riverside Drive in Manhattan. When the New York Youth Symphony asked me to write a new piece on the theme of “New York City”, it provided me with the ideal opportunity to musically convey the bright spirit of those morning runs, as well as the anticipation and excitement about the upcoming day that I feel during them. Additionally, I often use that time to think about compositional issues, so the title is especially meaningful.
Philip speaks with Green Bay Symphony music director Bridget-Michaele Reischl about Morningside Run
Every year thousands gather at the General Grant National Memorial in Manhattan, popularly known as Grant’s Tomb, to commemorate the birthday of Civil War hero and former President Ulysses S. Grant. The monument, internationally famous, is the largest building of its kind in the Western hemisphere and unprecedented in American history. To celebrate the millennial anniversary of this observance, the concert band version of this work was premiered at the monument on April 27, 2000.
National Monument Fanfare is a brilliant, stirring composition inspired by the grandeur of the Grant monument as well as the promise of the new millennium. Its opening brass flourishes are designed to evoke the festive nature of this outdoor communal gathering. After this initial fanfare recedes, an elegant, expansive theme emerges in the strings which conveys the “tribute” in the title. This dignified yet spirited tune is introduced quietly to distinguish a contrast with the initial bombast. The composer used the letters of Grant’s name in a musical fashion to spell out the first notes of this melody. The theme steadily builds in scope and volume until it is time for the brass fanfare to excitedly reappear. The main theme is then jubilantly presented as the composition reaches a sweeping, joyous conclusion.
Premiere: February 22, 1997, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo, New York. Michael Christie, conductor
Driven by a constant rhythmic energy, the Overture is a colorful work that couples brassy syncopation and inspiring melodic lines. The opening polytonal trumpet and trombone fanfare is continued as a rhythmic accompaniment by the horns and violas, while the violins and upper woodwinds brightly display the principal theme. After this theme is augmented and traded throughout all the orchestral sections, the Overture’s lyrical theme is quietly introduced by the cellos and bassoons. This theme eventually builds to a full, richly scored phrase featuring the strings and horns. The fanfare then reappears after which a new, syncopated “American” theme is introduced by the clarinet and echoed by the trumpet.
The three themes that form the basis for the entire Overture depict the renaissance of the modern city as a focal point for culture and artistic expression. The “city” in the title may be interpreted numerous ways, and as I wrote this piece I thought about the many aspects of the emotional appeal of music. The often indescribable pleasure and joy that music brings to the life of human beings is both an intensely personal and overtly communal experience. This appeal of music to people brings a renewed vitality to the urban landscape, and accordingly it is in this city, in our “American City” - our “city of the world” - that music is created and music flourishes.
Premiere: October 3, 2003, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Jason Weinberger, conductor
Souvenir is an original composition that is based upon melodies by Brahms. The inspiration for this idea came from conductor Jason Weinberger, who commissioned the work for its premiere performance on an otherwise all-Brahms orchestra concert in 2003.
I used melodies that were contained in two of Brahms’ intermezzos: Op. 116, No. 2, and Op. 118, No. 2. In my composition, however, I chose not to present them exactly as written -- rather, I fused them together to create a new theme. I chose the title “Souvenir” for the work because this combination of the themes served as a sort of memory, or souvenir, of Brahms’ melodies. And like a memory, these melodies take on a dreamlike appearance amidst my own composition.
Therefore the first movement of Souvenir contains the quotations from original pieces, but, as a memory evolves into new thoughts, so did the second movement. As if departing from a thought in a dream, my second movement does not include any explicit references to Brahms. Rather it evolves into a free interpretation of the spirits and the sound world from which I was working as I composed the piece.
Premiere: July 23, 2011, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, Greensboro, North Carolina. Maximiano Valdes, conductor
Starsplitter is a fast-moving, colorful soundscape, with each instrument playing an important role in the vibrant sonic palette. I arrived at the title after considering many combinations of celestial terms to describe this piece’s explosive energy.
Timeline was commissioned by the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of Allentown, PA and the County of Lehigh’s 200th anniversary.
Timeline incorporates several key musical ideas. At times pastoral and reflective, and other moments bustling and ebullient, the piece incorporates a main theme that weaves its way through different musical changes and settings.
Timeline marks the first composition I have written to commemorate the founding of a city. As I started to compose the piece, I wrestled with the task of how to represent the vast history of a city in a short piece of concert music. Much of my work over the last several years has involved composing and orchestrating for film, and it is in that genre that my ideas for Timeline began to coalesce.
I envisioned what it would be like to watch a film about a city that distilled decades of history into a compelling visual narrative. A starting point for me was the inspiring story of the Liberty Bell being successfully hidden in Allentown during the Revolutionary War, and so the piece begins with a jubilant fanfare with a prominent passage for chimes to portray this triumph. As the story unfolded, and I further envisioned the visuals, I imagined sweeping panoramic camera shots, bustling activity, and heartfelt emotion characterizing different elements of the film. I also wanted the piece to be generally festive in spirit to mark this momentous anniversary celebration. Ultimately, I wanted to take listeners on a musical journey—flying across a musical “timeline”—that evoked their own perception of a city through music.
Composer A four-time winner of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, Philip's compositions have been performed by the nation's leading orchestras and ensembles.
Consultant A highly respected consultant specializing in solutions for arts and non-profit organizations, including project design, grantmaking services, strategic planning, and governance work.
Music Services One of the most sought-after music preparers in the industry, orchestrating for major motion pictures and providing professional service to composers, publishers, and organizations.