Associate Professor of Music
Phillip A. Swan is Co-Director of Choral Studies and Musical Director for LU Musicals. Swan primarily conducts Cantala; directs Hybrid Ensemble (jazz, early, contemporary and world music); teaches courses in conducting, musical theatre and music education; and coaches student organized a cappella groups. He is active in the Appleton community, serving as artistic director and conductor for newVoices (recipient of the 2016 Chorus America Education and Community Engagement Award), and is choir director at Appleton Alliance Church. Swan received his BA in music education from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, MM in Choral Conducting from UT El Paso, and his DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Miami (Florida). His doctoral essay is entitled, "In His Own Words: The Choral Music of Eric Whitacre from 1991-2004."
Swan served as a church music and youth director, performed in El Paso Pro Musica and taught elementary general music in El Paso, Texas, before moving to Watertown, South Dakota in 1989, where he taught high school vocal music for ten years and was an active clinician and adjudicator. His duties at Watertown High School included: fine arts department chair, Bel Canto Singers (freshman chorus), Concert Choir (grade 10-12 chorus), Meistersingers (auditioned grade 11-12 chorus, who performed twice at the South Dakota Teacher Inservice), private voice lessons, two auditioned show choirs, and director for five spring musicals. Swan was also actively involved in the Watertown community as musical director for Kampeska Chorale and Town Players, and for nine years served as music director for Ninth Avenue United Methodist Church, directing both the sanctuary choir and praise team. Swan was also very involved in South Dakota ACDA serving as the vocal jazz repertory and standards chair, SD-ACDA newsletter editor, co-chair for the 1999 SD Summer Conference, registration co-chair for the 1994 ACDA North Central Division Convention, tenor section leader for the 1993 and 1995 SD Honors Choir and interim senior high school repertory and standards chair. While pursuing his DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of Miami, Swan served as senior graduate teaching assistant for Jo-Michael Scheibe in the choral studies program, was director of the University Women’s Chorale, sang in numerous ensembles (including the prestigious University Chorale and Jazz Vocal 1) and served as assistant director of music ministries at Coral Gables Congregational Church.
Swan has been fortunate to conduct ensembles in several state, regional, and national performances. He has conducted Cantala in performances at the 2019 National ACDA conference in Kansas City, the 2018 North Central/Central Division Conference in Chicago, the 2011 National ACDA conference in Chicago, the 2006 NC-ACDA conference in Omaha, the 2004 WCDA State Conference, Cantala and Concert Choir at the 2014 NC-ACDA Conference in Des Moines, and newVoices at the WCDA State Conference in 2019. He was privileged to be included as a chapter author in the 2012 GIA book, Conducting Women’s Choirs (“The “Y” Factor in an X-Chromosome World”) and a featured author in the 2017 and 2019 GIA series, Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir, Vol. 4 (“The Collaborative Conductor") and Vol. 5 ("Community Collaborations: Relevant Programming that Move Beyond the Classroom and Into the Community").
Dr. Swan has been fortunate to work with international choirs; conducting the seventh annual Festival of Choirs in Muscat, Oman in 2010 and was selected to participate in the ACDA International Conductor Exchange Program in 2014; giving two lectures and conducting in a Regional Concert for the China Choral Association (Guangdong Provence), and working with 15 choirs in Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Donguang, and Shenzhen, China. He will be returning to Oman in March 2020 to conduct the AMIS (the Association for Music in International Schools) International Treble High School Honor Choir (comprised of auditioned voices from 110 member schools from around the world). Nationally, Dr. Swan was most recently a featured guest conductor for the 2018 Northwest ACDA Treble High School Honor Choir and the 2018 South Dakota All State Choir. Awards include the 2016 Chorus America Award for Education and Community Engagement (newVoices programs on Human Trafficking and Alzheimer Disease/Dementia), the 2016 Morris D. Hayes Award (established in 1985 by the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association, it is reserved for those of outstanding merit who have shown a commitment to choral music, served the art and have made outstanding contributions to choral music in Wisconsin), the 2011 Lawrence Award for Excellence in Creative Activity, the 2008 Mrs. H. K. Babcock Award (given to an individual from the Lawrence community, who through involvement and interaction with students has made a positive impact on the campus community), South Dakota ACDA Encore Award, Outstanding Young Men of America, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, 1997 Northwestern University Summer Fellow, 2001 National ACDA graduate conducting competition finalist – San Antonio, Alpha Epsilon Lambda (graduate honor society) and Pi Kappa Lambda (collegiate national music honor society). Swan is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, currently serving as the National Women’s Choir Repertoire and Resources Chair. Other involvement has included serving as the North Central ACDA Women’s Choir R&S Chair, chairing the 2016 North Central ACDA collegiate ENGAGE event, Wisconsin Women’s Choir R&S Chair, program chair for the 2013 Wisconsin state conference, member of the state by-laws revision committee, WCDA summer Refresh! planning committee, and serving as co-director for the WCDA/National ACDA NextDirection (high school/collegiate choral leadership conference) in 2018 and 2019. Swan is also a member of the College Music Society, Chorus America, and the National Collegiate Choral Organization.
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