Phillip A. Swan

casual headshot
Campus Address
Brokaw Hall
Room 117
Conservatory of Music
Professor of Music and Co-Director of Choral Studies

PHILLIP A. SWAN is Co-Director of Choral Studies and Musical Director for LU Musicals. Dr. Swan primarily conducts Cantala; directs LUVS—LU Vocal Spectrum (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). Dr. Swan received his B.A. in music education from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, MM in Choral Conducting from UT El Paso, and his D.M.A. 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.”

Dr. Swan has been privileged to conduct ensembles in several state, regional, and national performances. He has conducted Cantala in performances at the 2022 Midwestern ACDA Region Conference in Chicago, the 2019 National ACDA Conference in Kansas City, the 2018 North Central/Central ACDA 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 chapter 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 Moves 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 was planning to return 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), until the pandemic halted those plans. Hopefully, a return will happen in the future.

Nationally, Dr. Swan was a featured guest conductor for the 2018 Northwest ACDA Treble High School Honor Choir, the 2018 North Dakota Women's Honor Choir, the 2018 South Dakota All State Choir, and the 2019 South Dakota Junior Honor 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). Dr. Swan is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, previously serving as the National Women’s/SSAA Choir Repertoire and Resources Chair and currently serving as the President-Elect for the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association.  He is also a member of Chorus America.

D.M.A., The University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. (residency: 1999-2002)
Major: Performance, Choral Conducting
(D.M.A. essay – “In His Own Words: The Choral Music of Eric Whitacre from 1991-2004”)
Secondary Emphasis: Vocal Jazz

M.M., The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.
Major: Performance, Choral Conducting (M.M. thesis: A Choral Conductor's Notebook)

Northwestern College, Roseville, Minnesota. (One year post-undergrad. No degree.)
Course of study: Church Music, Bible

B.A., Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota.
Major: Music Education (Certified K-12, instrumental and vocal)
Minor: Theater/Communications
Years at Lawrence