In Saturday’s (1/9) Dallas Morning News, Scott Cantrell writes, “Thursday night’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra concert brought the most distinguished conducting debut since music-director-to-be Jaap van Zweden first appeared with the orchestra. Those who’ve witnessed Paul Phillips’ work as music director of Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Symphony Orchestra won’t be surprised at his command of the orchestra or the depth of the music-making. … Without a note on auto-pilot, Phillips lovingly paced, proportioned, balanced and shaped everything, from the Fourth symphonies of Beethoven and Schumann to a brand-new viola concerto by American composer Margaret Brouwer. Commissioned by the DSO for principal violist Ellen Rose, Brouwer’s concerto is in the traditional three movements. … The piece opens edgily. English horn, harp and marimba attempt to calm the viola’s anxieties, and eventually the soloist emerges transfigured. … Brouwer was a violinist before turning full-time to composition; she played in the Fort Worth Symphony in the early 1980s and sometimes subbed in the DSO. She has written skillfully and imaginatively for both viola and orchestra, and the music engages start to finish.”

Posted January 11, 2010