Craig Phillips is a distinguished and popular American composer and organist. His choral and organ music is heard Sunday by Sunday in churches and cathedrals across the United States, and many of his works have been performed in concert throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He was named the American Guild of Organists Distinguished Composer for 2012 — the seventeenth recipient of this special award. Dr. Phillips joins an illustrious list that include past honorees Virgil Thomson, Ned Rorem, Daniel Pinkham, Stephen Paulus, David Hurd and others.
Dr. Phillips was featured as a soloist at the opening service of the 2012 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Nashville with the première of a newly commissioned work, Three Sketches for Organ,and in his works for organ, brass and percussion. The 2010 National Convention of the AGO saw the première of his commissioned workSojourn for organ and winds; and in 2002, Dr. Phillips was featured as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra in a performance of his Concertinofor organ and orchestra during the National Convention of the AGO in Philadelphia. He has also appeared as soloist with members of the Eastman Philharmonia, the Oklahoma Symphony, the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, and Musica Angelica at the Corona del Mar Baroque Music Festival. Dr. Phillips has appeared as soloist at regional conventions of the AGO and at various venues across the United States. He has distinguished himself in a number of competitions, including First Prize in the 1994 Clarence Mader Competition for organ composition. He was a judge for the 2004 National Competition in Organ Improvisation at the National AGO convention in Los Angeles, the 2005 AGO/Holtcamp Award in Organ Composition, and the 2009 American Guild of Organists Award in Organ Composition.
The music of Craig Phillips has been the subject of feature articles in theThe American Organist (March 2012), the Los Angeles Times (February 2012) and The Diapason (June 2009). Dr. Phillips has received numerous commissions from such organizations as The American Guild of Organists (for the National Conventions in Washington, DC, 2010, Nashville, 2012, and Seattle, 2000, and for regional conventions in Atlanta, 2007, Lexington, 2011, Boston, 2009, San Diego and Binghamton, 2001), The Episcopal Church (for the 2006 General Convention), The Association of Anglican Musicians, Stellar Brass (USAF Academy Band), The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s (Pacific Palisades, CA), CoroAllegro of Wilmington, Delaware, The University of Iowa, Syracuse University, University of California at Riverside, Washington National Cathedral and many other churches and institutions. His secular works include a Concerto for Harpsichord and Chamber Orchestra, Concerto for Bassoon and Strings, A Festival Song for chorus and orchestra, a song cycle for soprano and orchestra entitled Songs of the Unknown Region, Suite for Organ, Brass Quintet and Percussion, two Sonatas for organ, and a number of other chamber works. His works have received critical acclaim in journals such as Gramaphone, Clavier, The American Organist, Cross Accent, andThe Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, and have been broadcast on American Public Media’s Pipedreams. He has received numerous ASCAP awards, and a Meet the Composer grant for a work premiered at the Ojai Festival. His organ and choral and chamber works are published by several prestigious firms.
A new recording, Fanfare: Christopher Wells plays the organ music of Craig Phillips has just been released on the Pro Organo label. A 2004Gothic Records release, A Festival Song, features a sampling of Phillips’ choral and instrumental works performed by All Saints’ Choir and Craig Phillips as organist. Other works have been recorded on the Arkay, JAV, Summit, and Pro Organo labels.
Dr. Phillips holds the degrees Doctor of Musical Arts, Master of Music, and the Performers Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, where he studied with the great pedagogue Russell Saunders. His Bachelor of Music Degree is from Oklahoma Baptist University, and his early musical studies were at the Blair School of Music in Nashville.
Dr. Phillips has served as Director of Music at All Saints’ Church, Beverly Hills since 2009. He previously served for 20 years as the churches’ Associate Director of Music and Composer-in-Residence. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and serves on the board of the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music and the Clarence Mader Foundation. He resides in West Hollywood, California.