Philip Swanson has had a wide-ranging 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, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Opera Boston, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and numerous other orchestras and chamber ensembles.He is co-founder of Morgenmusik, a brass collective that performs and records a wide variety of chamber music for brass. They have performed throughout the northeast, including a recital with members of the New York Philharmonic brass section, and released an album of brass and organ music featuring organist Barbara Bruns and trumpet virtuoso James Thompson.
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. He has performed and recorded with many groups including Bob Nieske’s Big Wolf Band, Chamber Jazz, Herb Pomeroy, and 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 University 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.