Award-winning composer, conductor, and oboist Phil Popham has served numerous roles on over 80 film & TV productions, 20 symphony orchestras, 16 albums, and countless live concerts and festivals. From composing, conducting, and performing, Phil has also produced live shows and recording sessions, contracted full orchestras, produced/recorded/mixed 7 albums, and coordinated programs for four music organizations. Originally a classically trained composer/conductor/oboist, “Dr. Phil” holds graduate degrees in both Composition and Performance with studies in Music Industry and Production Music. In 2017, he received further media music training at Fil Eisler’s studio at Warner Brothers. He assisted in score and file preparations for seasons of Empire, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Unreal, and the films The Titan and Life of the Party.
As a composer, Phil has scored 8 films, including The Oread with which he won a Golden Giraffe Award for Best Original Film Score in 2022. He has repeatedly served as Composer-in-Residence of the Tahoe Chamber Music Society, Educational Composer for the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and Ensemble Composer for Helix Collective. In 2017, Phil was a Winning Composer for the Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival. In 2016, his work 5 Food Trucks was a winning composition for the innersOUndscapes Competition. His 2012 commission “Click Clack, Moosic” for the West Michigan Symphony led to two full seasons of sold out performances. In 2009, his work The Pharmacy was praised by the American Record Guide as a piece “any group would love to play, and any audience would love to hear.” His classical pieces have been premiered by the New World Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, Helix Collective, Accent Music, Tahoe Chamber Music Society, Classical Revolution, and numerous symphony players, and university faculty members and ensembles worldwide. In 2011, he led the creation and development of the Club Classical music genre with Helix Collective’s World Dance Club, Cocktail Stories, and Classical Revolution chapters nationwide.
Phil has conducted 29 film scores, including the award-winning soundtrack The Bag and the Bike. In 2018, he became the conductor for the Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival (one year after participating as a Winning Composer) and will be the conductor for the 2023 show 8bit8. He is the music director for Helix Collective, a genre-crossing concert and film music ensemble. In 2022, he led such shows as Spotlight and Music with a Movie Camera to critical acclaim. He has also conducted numerous world premieres of his own works, including the sold-out performances of Click, Clack, Moosic with the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and concerts with Classical Revolution: Los Angeles.
Phil may be heard on oboe & English horn on over 50 film, television, and videogame soundtracks, including Planet Earth II, The Way of the Turtle, Impossible, Asterix and Obelix: IV, Emo Dad, Princess Cyd, Soar, Toxic Temptation, The Mad Whale, The Wars of Other Men, Spike TV’s Tut, and USA Network’s The Moment. Symphonically, he holds the positions of Principal Oboe at Pacific Opera Project and Solo English horn for the West Michigan Symphony. He also served as English horn for nine years with the Midland Symphony Orchestra and six years as Second Oboe/English horn of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Golden State Pops, L.A. Virtuosi, Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Hollywood Film Orchestra, Orchestra Santa Monica, LA Sinfonietta, and the Southeast, Los Angeles, New Valley, Grand Rapids, New World, South Bend, and Jackson Symphonies. In 2013, his music publishing company PapaPhats’ Music Society released the oboe excerpt book Our TIme: The Best Oboe & English Horn Solos You’re NOT Playing.
A 2001 graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music (as a student of Joseph Turner), Phil served that year as Principal Oboe of the Annapolis Opera Orchestra and was awarded the conservatory’s Lynn Taylor Hebden Prize in Performance. After one year of study in Chicago with Grover Schiltz at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Phil won the position of English horn for the Midland Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, Phil continued study ay University of Southern California earning a Doctorate in Music Performance under the guidance of Joel Timm.
In 2013, Phil founded Phat Yak Records, the first Club Classical record label. Since its inception, the label has released 6 albums, including the critically-acclaimed World Dance Club by Helix Collective. Two albums have been released in the summer of 2018. Helix Collective’s third album L.A. Stories is a mixed classical-spoken word program featuring Los Angeles composers and authors. The popular album Flaut Haus was released in September of 2018 and features Clubbing for Classical Musicians author Sarah Robinson performing a flute club-set which she premiered on her 2017 national tour.