Conductor for MSO’s 2023-24 Season
Hailed by the BBC as a “talent to watch out for, who conveys a mature command of his forces,” American conductor Philip Mann has a worldwide reputation as an “expressively graceful yet passionate” artist with a range spanning symphonic repertoire, opera, new music, and experimental collaborations. His Brahms collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra and pianist Norman Krieger on Decca Records has received numerous rave reviews and his recent 2019 recording with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in the works of Michael Fine has garnered extensive praise and been named to major award watchlists. Elected a Rhodes Scholar, he won the Vienna Philharmonic’s Karajan Fellowship at the Salzburg Festival, and was named an American Conducting Fellow. As Music Director of the Arkansas Symphony, his tenure has been described as among the most successful of any American music director in decades, as the state orchestra experienced a complete turnaround under his leadership with unprecedented artistic growth, numerous attendance records, construction of a new concert hall, launches of several groundbreaking and innovative performance series and collaborations, expansion of classical programming weeks and full-time musician positions, the return of fully staged opera to the metropolitan area, all 9 consecutive years in financial surplus, the founding of Arkansas’s first collaborative arts festival-ACANSA, and a profile change from a regional orchestra to that of an ensemble garnering international attention and major orchestra comparisons.
Recent re-engagements following successes include the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Mexico City Philharmonic, National Radio Orchestra of Romania, Voronezh Philharmonic. His Canadian debut with l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec, was dubbed by Le Soleil as a “Tour de Force,” and produced an immediate reengagement from stage while his recent debut with the Batumi International MusicFest led to an offer of a principal conductor appointment. Mann has been an assistant conductor for performances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Previously, the music director of the Oxford City Opera and Oxford Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, he has also held conducting positions with the Indianapolis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and Music in the Mountains Festival. Promoted twice in San Diego to Associate Conductor where he performed hundreds of critically acclaimed performances including a Strauss/Debussy/Mozart program where the Union Tribune raved, “Mann was masterful… a skilled musical architect, designing and executing a beautifully paced interpretation, which seemed to spring from somewhere deep within the music rather than superimposed upon it.” In 2019, Mann also appears as music director of the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra.
Other engagements include the Georgian State Opera, National Symphony of Cyprus, Sofia Philharmonic, Busan Philharmonic, Phoenix Symphony, Sarasota Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Symphony in C, and the New Mexico, Tulsa, and major orchestras, operas, and festivals in Europe, USA, and Asia. Mann has worked with leading artists such as Joshua Bell, Sharon Isbin, Susan Graham, Midori, Marvin Hamlisch Dmitri Alexeev, and is highly sought after by composers for major premiers including: John Corigliano, Joan Tower, Jennifer Higdon, Samuel Adler, Michael Torke, Christopher Theofanidis, Elena Katz-Chernin, Michael Fine, DJ Sparr, Lucas Richman and many others. He maintains a lively schedule as a guest conductor having conducted multiple sell-outs at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fischer Hall and London’s Barbican Center.
His diverse collaborations with leaders and prominent civil rights advocates like George Takei have also garnered him much praise for leveraging the power of music toward poignant community conversations, enhancing the relevance of symphony orchestras to communities, and successful audience development. He is the recipient of numerous awards including citations from the Arkansas State Legislature, a commendation from the Arkansas Governor, commendations from several cities and the state of California, while he has been recognized for his extraordinary community engagement as winner of Arkansas’ “Communicator of the Year,” and PRSA “Diamond Award Winner” for enhancing the image of the entire state.
Having assisted Franz Welser-Möst, Simon Rattle, Ricardo Muti, Nicholas Harnoncourt, Leonard Slatkin, Jaime Laredo, Mario Venzago, Bramwell Tovey, Pinchas Zukerman, he studied and taught at Oxford, where he won the annual competition to become principal conductor of the Oxford University Philharmonia. Under his leadership, the Philharmonia’s performances and tours received international press and acclaim. Mann studied with Alan Hazeldine of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Colin Metters at the Royal Academy of Music, and Marios Papadopolous of the Oxford Philomusica. He worked with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center’s National Conducting Institute and Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony. Mentorship with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jorma Panula followed at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Conducting Masterclasses, and Robert Spano with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s international Mozart Requiem masterclass for the League of American Orchestras. He has also worked under Imre Pallo, David Effron, John Poole, and Thomas Baldner at Indiana University where he was appointed visiting lecturer in orchestral conducting, and worked as assistant conductor at the IU Opera Theater. Additional studies came under the Bolshoi Theater’s music director, Alexander Vedernikov at the Moscow State Conservatory, Gustav Meir, Kenneth Keisler, and with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Robert Ward. Mann was both the “outstanding graduate (valedictorian)” the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University, but also the Honors College’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
As a teacher and Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas Tech University and at University of Maryland Baltimore County, his orchestras have become known for bold and innovative projects and superlative quality, while he has accepted a small group of conducting students who have enjoyed successful debuts at major international orchestras and operas, and multiple gold medal successes at international competition.