:: Conducting
» «

Rohan Phillips :: Composer and Conductor



I came to conducting through composition. Ideally the step from composing (creating) to conducting (re-creating) is a small one. While there must be fidelity to the score, this needs to go hand-in-hand with a respect for the musical ideal. This responsibility becomes clear when performing your own works, when you must choose between what you had written and what will sound best. (In this regard I am indebted to my teacher Larry Sitsky and the composer-pianist tradition of which he is a part.)

Programming also becomes an act of composition: technical concerns aside a performance must have an inner logic - it must have a beginning and an ending - in between, small pieces become gestures and must be anticipated, balanced, and resolved to the satisfaction of the audience

This then feeds back into the composition process, reinforcing the liveliness music attains only once it leaves the page.

Bendigo Symphony Orchestra


The BSO was founded in 1981 as a result of the Music 81 project of the Victorian Government, and was the successor of the Bendigo Concert Orchestra.
The orchestra occupies a key space in the musical life of the City of Greater Bendigo, with the Mayor of Bendigo as Patron.


Rohan was appointed Musical Director of the BSO in February 2008, his history with the orchestra goes back to 1986 when he was first trumpet and throughout his composition studies the orchestra was able to commission and premier a number of Rohan's compositions. In 2007, for the Chorale's 50th anniversary concert he directed the BSO in Messiah highlights and Anton Bruckner's Te Deum.
Rohan's first full concert with the BSO was their Palm Sunday concert and included Schubert's 3rd Symphony, Haydn's 6th Symphony, and Bach's Double Violin Concerto.
With the BSO, Rohan has directed performances of:

  • Haydn: symphonies 6, 82, 94, 100, 103, Violin Concerto and Mass in time of War
  • Mozart: symphonies 31 and 25, Cosi fan tutte, Idomedeo & Magic Flute overtures, Bassoon concerto, Sinfonia Concertante, and The Magic Flute (concert version)
  • Beethoven: symphonies 1, 4, 5 and 6, Coriolan & Leonora overture No.2 and 4th Piano concerto
as well as Brahms 1st symphony; Dvorak: symphonies 8 & 9 and Piano concerto; Schubert symphonies 3 & 7; Schumann 3rd symphony; B.Smetena The Moldau (Vltava); S.Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf; G.Kerry In iubilo; Berlioz Les nuits d'ete; Liszt Prometheus; Tchaikovsky Orchestral suite No.4 "Mozartiana"; Debussy Prelude to the afternoon of a faun; Villa-Lobos Guitar concerto; Copland Appalachian Spring; F.S.Kelly Elegy - in memorium Rupert Brooke; E.Elgar Variations on an original theme 'Enigma' and Wagner Siegfried Idyll.


For information about the BSO may be found on the orchestra's website
Or go to the orchestra's Facebook page:


St Paul's Cathedral Choir

In February 2007 Rohan was appointed co-director, with Stanley Jackson, of the St Paul's Cathedral Choir, Bendigo.

The choir sings at St Paul's most Sunday mornings (Feb.-Dec.) as well as Holy week (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday) and other festivals including: Shrove Tuesday, Ascension, and the celebration of St Peter & St Paul.

St Paul's Cathedral, Bendigo
Anglican Diocese of Bendigo

Bendigo Chorale | Musical Director 1998-2008

HistoryPast Performances
The Bendigo Chorale is a community choir continuing the tradition of the Benola Singers which was formed by Miss Mavis Webster (MBE) in 1957.
In 1998 the choir changed its name and Rohan Phillips was appointed Musical Director.
Over ten years Rohan directed the Chorale in a range of works, including choral masterpieces and explorations of new repetoire.
2008 was Rohan's final year directing the Chorale, and the season (supported by a grant from Regional Arts Victoria) featured three premiers of his own compositions, written to complement the choirs 'traditional' programmes.

Dec 2008 - Christmas with the Chorale ~ and Brass, R.Phillips Stella Fulgore for choir, brass ensemble, and organ
Oct 2008 - Classical Celebration, Haydn Missa brevis St. Joannis de Deo & Schubert's Mass in G major D 167, R.Phillips: Concerto for flute and chamber orchestra: missa brevis with Jenny Gogolin (flute) & the Bendigo Chorale Orchestra.
May 2008 - Tudor Celebration, Dowland, Byrd, et al, including first performance of O sweet woods by R.Phillips
Oct 2007 - G.F.Handel; Messiah (highlights) & A.Bruckner; Te Deum, Bendigo Chorale and Bendigo Symphony Orchestra
May 2006/Apr 2007 - W.A.Mozart; 'Coronation Mass', with Bendigo Chorale Orchestra.
Oct 2005 - E.Elgar; 'Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands'
Jun 2005 - J.Haydn; 'Nelson' Mass, with Bendigo Chorale Orchestra.
Mar 2005 - Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival
Nov 2004 - Voices Pipes and String: Music of the 20th Century.
Dec 2003 - M-A Charpentier; Messe de Minuit
May 2003 - G.F.Handel; Messiah, with Bendigo Chorale Orchestra
Mar 2001 - G.Faure; Requiem
Oct 1999 - B.Britten; Choral Dances from 'Gloriana'
Apr 1999 - C.Saint Saens; Mass Op.4
Oct 1998 - E.Elgar; The Spirit of England

Bendigo Youth Orchestra | Musical Director 2000-2005

Community orchestra with players from local primary and secondary schools. Age limited to players under 26 years old.

HistoryPast Performances
The Bendigo Youth Orchestra seeks to give opportunities for young instrumentalists to experience playing orchestral music. With reduced numbers the BYO has developed into a chamber ensemble, giving greater responsibility to each player. In addition to chamber music, the BYO seeks to develop conducting and composition programmes, and work with guest artists.

Due to lack of numbers the BYO went into recess at the start of 2006.
The committee is currently looking to find another organization willing to support a re-established ensemble.
End of year Recital
Saturday 3rd December, Kennington Primary School

Roz Avent Dance, Mid Winter Performance
Saturday 23rd July 6.00pm, venue St Andrew's Uniting Church

June 2005 Winter Recital
With guest artist: Jacquie Fordham (clarinet) former BYO member
Kennington Primary School

October 2004 'Platinum and Mallets' the BYO auspiced a concert of flute and percussion music given by Mardi McSullea and Timothy Phillips.

June 2003 Bendigo Youth Orchestra 2003 Composition Award culminated with the first performance of Flight of the Submarine, the winning composition by Gawain Davey. This event presented with support from the City of Greater Bendigo, Cultural Development and Events.

Other Projects

April 2005, Seven Fragments after Paul Celan by Rohan Phillips
In Bendigo, with an ensemble made up of local and imported players, rehearse and perform 'Seven Fragments after Paul Celan'.
See Seven Fragments

November 2004, Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
Version for 2 pianos and percussion. Presented by Bendigo Middle Years Singers and La Trobe University Bendigo in association with the Diamond Valley Singers.


top Last Updated: 26 October, 2016  Bendigo Symphony Orchestra