US org names Black Cat as new chief

US org names Black Cat as new chief


norman lebrecht

September 17, 2018

Message received:


The Philharmonic Society of Orange County announced today the appointment of Tommy Phillips as its new President and Artistic Director, effective October 1, 2018. Phillips succeeds John Mangum, who stepped down from this role in April to become the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Houston Symphony.

In a career spanning more than 15 years, Phillips is known for his innovative programming ideas, reliability and trust within the classical music industry, and for his capacity for creative ingenuity. Holding artistic positions and programming consultancies at orchestras across the country, Phillips has guided music directors, and helped build strong foundations and connections for institutions including the San Diego Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and Mainly Mozart Festival, among others. 

Following his passion for cultural exchange and musical ambassadorship, Phillips is also the co-founder of Black Cats Production Company, an international touring and performing arts organization bringing performing ensembles to China and Chinese ensembles to the United States. His extensive list of clients includes violinist Joshua Bell, the Shanghai Quartet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and France’s Malandain Ballet Biarritz.


  • Robert Groen says:

    Great idea. I happen to know that black cats have a special fondness for Gustav Mahler. Mine does, anyway. Don’t you, Tiddles? Orange County can look forward to a great Mahler season. All the symphonies, Das Lied von der Erde, Das Klagende Lied (full version), the Fahrende Gesellen and Rueckert, all with top notch soloists. Would I could be there when it happens! Bring it on, Phillips! And thank you, Mr. Lebrecht, for bringing this to our attention!

  • drummerman says:

    Norman, the “Philharmonic Society” is NOT a U.S. orchestra. It is a major presenting organizations.

    Mr. Phillips has worked almost exclusively in programming. I’m fairly certain that this is his first CEO-type job. We wish him well.

    • LP says:

      Mr Philips has strong local (San Diego is very close) ties especially with the symphony and this appointment looks very promising also hopefully in terms of collaboration with the La Jolla Music Society or other local music presenters. I am very much looking forward to it