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Tommy Phillips
President and Artistic Director

In a career spanning more than 15 years, Tommy Phillips is known for his innovative programming ideas, reliability and trust within the classical music industry, and for his capacity for creative ingenuity. Holding artistic positions and programming consultancies at orchestras across the country, Phillips has guided music directors, and helped build strong foundations and connections for institutions including the San Diego Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and Mainly Mozart Festival, among others.

Following his passion for cultural exchange and musical ambassadorship, Phillips is also the co-founder of Black Cats Production Company, an international touring and performing arts organization bringing performing ensembles to China and Chinese ensembles to the United States. His extensive list of clients includes violinist Joshua Bell, the Shanghai Quartet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and France’s Malandain Ballet Biarritz.

During his eight years with the San Diego Symphony, most recently as Director of Artistic Planning, Phillips oversaw the strategy and implementation for all artistic programs, festivals, recording sessions, commissioning projects, and national and international tours. He also developed and produced large-scale multi-media concerts (including the first ever Live-to-Film world premiere of a major motion picture with live orchestra), and built key relationships with major brands such as Disney, Paramount and Comic-Con.

Raised in San Diego, Phillips attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, earning his bachelor’s degree in Music Performance (trombone) and went on to pursue Graduate studies in Trombone Performance and Arts Administration at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory.

Phillips is married to Julie Smith Phillips, Principal Harpist for the San Diego Symphony. They have two young children - Samantha, and Henry.