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Phil Collins
Music Instructor


Phil Collins was born in San Mateo, California and has lived in Santa Cruz since 1976. In 1979 he co-founded New Music Works and has served as the organization’s Artistic Director and Conductor since 1982.

Collins’ diversified interests and experience as a composer, performer and director have cultivated ongoing collaborative relationships with leading musicians, and artists of diverse disciplines.  As Artistic Director of New Music Works, his eclectic and singular programming of 20th and 21st century music has brought national acclaim to the organization.

Collins has guest-conducted numerous ensembles and has performed residencies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and at Vassar College on a the Martha Farmer Fellowship.

His orchestral and chamber works have been played throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has also composed and conducted for numerous theatre companies and colleges including , Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Western Stage, Mount Madonna Players, UC Santa Cruz, and Cabrillo College.

As a lecturer, Collins has been hosted numerous schools and conferences, including the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the American Composers Forum, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

 Awards include: First Prize (Air), 1996 International Clarinet Society Composition Competition; First Prize (Sappho Songs), 1994 L’ARCIM Festival in Montreal; The Gail Rich Award; and Dramalogue Award for Best Musical Direction.

Collins studied composition with Edwin Dugger, Lou Harrison, and Henry Onderdonk. He studied conducting under Nicole Paiement at UC Santa Cruz; classical guitar with Stanley Beutens; and jazz guitar with Jerry Hahn. He holds a Bachelors in Music Composition from San Francisco State University and a Masters in Music (conducting) from University of California Santa Cruz.

Collins has participated as a juror in composition and instrumental competitions sponsored by San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Asian Composers League, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and others. In February 2007 he was an invited lecturer at the Asia Pacific Festival in New Zealand.

As a classical music critic (1982-1998), Collins covered performance activities throughout the Greater Bay Area and nationally for the Santa Cruz County Sentinel, San Jose Metro, and as a free-lance writer for numerous other publications. In addition to his direction of New Music Works, Collins currently teaches music at Cabrillo and Hartnell Colleges.