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Milton Phibbs

Milton Phibbs was a popular free lance hornist, composer and arranger in New York City until his retirement in 2010. A native of Washington, D.C., he graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1971 where he studied horn with Mason Jones and composition with Matthew Colucci. Beginning his professional career as a hornist while still a student a Curtis, Milt was a member of the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, both the Philadelphia Lyric and Grand Opera Companies’ orchestras and the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra. As a commercial musician, he has performed with Burt Bacharach, Vic Damone, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Andy Williams and Peggy Lee and he was a mainstay at Sigma Sound Studios during the era of "The Philly Sound" in the ‘70s recording regularly with such groups as The OJ’s, The Stylistics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Spinners and the SalSoul Orchestra. Milt has also performed, recorded and toured with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra, where he served as substitute second horn for ten Summer seasons. While in New York, he is a member of the Opera Orchestra of New York, the Riverside Symphony, the Westchester Philharmonic and he was the hornist of the Virtuosi Woodwind Quintet. He also performed and recorded with Prof. Peter Schickele and the New York Pick Up Orchestra in the P.D.Q. Bach concert series. Milt substituted with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, the American Composers Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and played for various Broadway show productions.

As a composer, Milton Phibbs has had works premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra and at the Grand Teton Music Festival as well as at New York’s Weill Recital Hall by the Virtuosi Woodwind Quintet. His commercial activities have included arrangements for NFL Films and he composed the music for the interpretive films at the Mount Rushmore Visitors Center for the U.S. National Park Service. Milt is well know in the horn world for his humorous compositions commissioned by Kendall Betts: Les Tombeux des Cornistes, premiered at the IHS workshop in Tallahassee in 1994 and performed again in a specially revised version in Yamagata, Japan in 1996; Die Schultage, premiered at the Rochester IHS Workshop in 1997; and Sonate fur Horn und Althorn, und Horn Plus Althorn, und Klavier und Jazzschlagzeugsatz, premiered at the Banff Workshop in 1998 by Prof. I. M. Gestopftmitscheist.

2017 will be Milt’s 21st visit to KBHC where in the past he has composed both humorous and serious compositions including Root Canal in 1998 and Deskant be Happenin’ to Me in 1997 which he revised and expanded for 1999. Also in 1999, Milt showed up at camp with the long lost Sonata for Horn, Right Handed E Flat Wagner Tube and Piano by Kopprasch, which he had found being used for placemats at a diner in New Jersey. Prof. I.M. Gestopftmitscheist gave the piece the world premiere it deserved much to everyone’s amazement. At KBHC 2000, Milt surprised everyone with a wonderful Fanfare for Ogontz, for 10 horns, which he dedicated to Lynn Kent.  KBHC 2001 was a hilarious piece for 8 horns and 2002 brought a serious composition, EIGHT IS ENOUGH.  In 2003, Milt honored the horrendous natural disaster in nearby Franconia Notch State Park with his serious piece for eight horns, The Old Man Fell Off of the Mountain.  Another serious piece followed in 2004, Another Day, Another Octet.  In 2005, he brought a really strange one, SSDD and 2006 had him answering cell phone calls during the world premiere of No Deal. Since then, he has been so prolific we have lost count.

Milton Phibbs

Composer in Residence

KBHC: 1997-2017

Milton Phibbs

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