Phillip Bimstein


I grew up in Chicago, studied classical music at Chicago Conservatory, then led a precarious double life dashing between the encyclopedia business by day and a punk rock band by night. But I fell in love with the red rocks of southern Utah, so I left behind MTV to hike (and live) in Springdale, the gateway to Zion National Park.

My new neighbors forgave my punkish ways and twice elected me mayor. After noticing significant and useful similarities between musical and political processes, I cooked up the Composing a Community course for the Honors College. I also practice yoga and meditation, which led me to propose a Praxis Lab on contemplative practices and higher education for 2016-17.

In Navajo legend a coyote, or “songdog,” emerged from a hole in the ground and sang the world into existence. The songdog story, and the feeling of possibility it engenders, has inspired all my work as composer, mayor and citizen. My goal as teacher is to spark that feeling and develop that capability in my students, helping them to become conscious and intentional co-creators—songdogs—singing ourselves and our communities into existence.

Honors Classes

HONOR 4473 Composing a Community
HONOR 3700 Praxis Lab: Alzheimer’s and Aging (2012-13)
HONOR 3700 Praxis Lab: Contemplative Practices and the University (2016-17)

Works Links

“Composing a Community: Collaborative Performance of a New Democracy” New Political Science: A Journal of Politics and Culture
Red Rock Rondo (Recordings, Videos)
List of Alternative Classical Works
Selected Recordings of Alternative Classical Works

I am currently composing The Brahma Viharas, a concerto for English horn and orchestra, to be premiered by the Salt Lake Symphony with Charlotte Bell, soloist, in Fall 2015.

Teaching Statement

Curriculum Vitae