Philip Swanson has had a distinguished career as a trombonist, pianist, organist, composer, conductor, and teacher. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts from New England Conservatory, Master of Music from the Eastman School, and completed his undergraduate work at Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Miami.
As a classical trombonist, he has performed with the Miami Philharmonic, where he served as principal for five years, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, Opera Boston, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and numerous other orchestras and chamber ensembles. He is cofounder of the Thompson Brass Ensemble, a brass collective featuring trumpet virtuoso James Thompson, that performs and records a wide variety of chamber music for brass.
He has also enjoyed an active and varied career as a jazz trombonist and pianist, having performed in both small group and big band settings. He was among the first western jazz musicians to perform in the former Soviet Union, touring with a big band which featured vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater, and pianist Jim McNeely. Upon moving to Boston, he had the privilege of performing many times in small group settings with the legendary jazz trumpeter Herb Pomeroy. Presently, Phil is a member of Bob Neiske’s Big Wolf Band, the Chamber Jazz Trio, and leads his own group, the Phil Swanson Trio.
As a solo pianist, he has performed numerous concerts of his original works, music which draws from his many years of experience as a jazz and classical musician. In a review of his solo piano release, Lengthening Shadows, music critic Peter Burwasser wrote, “…this material is consistently melodic and concisely made….it is filled with delicate filigree and sparkling harmonies. As a performer, Swanson displays an easy virtuosity that adds to the beguiling character of this CD.” (Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec 2006, Vol. 30, No.2). Much of this solo piano material is featured in Confluence, a collaborative effort with poet and novelist J.D. Scrimgeour.
Dr. Swanson is a Professor of Music at Salem State College in Salem, MA where he teaches music theory, composition, piano, and trombone. Since 1991, he has been Music Director of the First Congregational Church of Rockport, MA where he serves as organist and choir director.
Dr. Swanson has written and published numerous works for various instrumental and vocal ensembles. His recordings on the MSR Classics label include albums for solo piano, small jazz ensemble (trombone, bass & guitar), and solo trombone with organ. He also has recorded with larger ensembles, including John Williams and the Boston Pops, Boston Cecilia, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.