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Phil Taylor

Boulder, CO   

Phil Taylor (b.1989) writes music that explores ideas about gesture, transformation, and dialogue. A native of Salem, Oregon and a current resident of Boulder, Colorado, his works are often inspired by his interests in observing and capturing phenomena in nature, as well as linguistics, literature, and visual arts. Among his recent projects are a solo violin work for Michiko Theurer inspired by her mixed-media artwork and based on Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves, a string quartet for FLUX, and a sinfonietta for Ensemble Échappé; projects on the horizon include a saxophone quartet for ~Nois and an orchestral work for College of the Ozarks. He has been commissioned by or collaborated with numerous ensembles and musical organizations across the US, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Minnesota Orchestra, Latitude 49, Alia Musica Pittsburgh, eighth blackbird, Spektral Quartet, Pacifica Quartet, and the Imani Winds.

Phil has earned three BMI Student Composer Awards, including the William Schuman prize, as well as fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and Wellesley Composers Conference. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Chicago, where his teachers included Augusta Read Thomas and Shulamit Ran.

‘of embers and aspen leaves’ (String Quartet No.2, 2017)

Commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Live performance, FLUX Quartet, Santa Fe, NM, August 2017.

Flickering, whispering, rustling sounds dance across four instruments,
occasionally threatening to ignite.

Within is an image, a tangled memory reconnected to the present,
a déjà vu of visual and emotional associations from the past.

It passes through doors left open to different musical spaces,
tracing and retracing steps—
freely flowing between impressions that, like memory and reality,
cannot be inhabited except in motion.

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‘Sparks’ for clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2015)

‘Sparks’ (2015) for clarinet, violin, cello and piano. Commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival. Michael Moy, cl./Michiko Theurer, vln./Evan Kahn, vlc./Carlos Gutierrez, pno. Live performance, Aspen, CO, July 2015.

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‘Moths’ for solo violin (2016) – III. The Moths

‘Moths’ was written for Michiko Theurer’s innovative multimedia project ‘Circling the Waves’ which wove together five of her original paintings with musical responses and commentaries from six composers, architecturally and conversationally resonant with the intertwined narrative voices of Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘The Waves’. The first two movements, ‘Chrysalis’ and ‘Fractures’, serve as separate, brief preludes for this movement, the work’s main body.

Michiko Theurer. Recorded in Boulder, CO, 2017.

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