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Phil Sims

Phil Sims studied music at the undergraduate and graduate level at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.  He has held academic appointments to teach a variety of courses ranging from music theory, musicianship, to composition and electronic music in a number of different colleges, specifically the Eastman School of Music, the University of Rochester, Mercer University, and Emory University.  In recent years, Phil’s creative work has mainly focused on the creation of albums and sound design scores using a mix of acoustic and virtual instruments.  His compositions have been performed and presented throughout the country and in Europe, in both academic and community venues, most recently at the Schwartz Center on the Emory University campus, the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech, the Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education, Eyedrum, during the 2010 Dodekapus Art Collective Carnival, the 2010 L5P Halloween Festival (in collaboration with gloATL lab), and more.  His intellectual and academic essays have focused on theoretical and pedagogical issues ranging from integrated and experiential instruction to sociopolitical topics like musical rhetoric, the politics of beauty, including the friction between expertise and populism in music, modes of listening, and the practice of aesthetic apartheid within academic departments and curricula.  Current research includes a deep dive into music cosmology, especially three dimensional modeling of musical spaces and the nature of time and its impact on or exploration through musical practice.   

As an undergrad, Phil played in the famed Eastman Wind Ensemble, Eastman Philharmonic, Musica Nova, and the Eastman Trombone Choir.  Phil continued playing in a variety of new music and chamber music ensembles until about 2010, including several years as the trombonist in Colony IV, the Mercer University faculty brass quintet.    

Phil began lecturing in music theory over 20 years ago at the Eastman School, at the age of 22; while a grad student at Eastman, he won both the School’s graduate student teaching award and the University of Rochester’s Edward Curtis Peck Award for excellence in undergraduate instruction.  Phil was also the recipient of the Presser Award to fund musicological research on the music of Erik Satie at the Bibliotheque National in Paris.  

In addition to pursuing inspired, effective teaching from an academic platform, Phil has also collaborated in a variety of music and education projects with organizations like the Atlanta Ballet, FOCUS (Families of Children Under Stress), the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the American Composers Forum, the Atlanta Girls’ School, and the Montessori School at Emory, to name a few.  In 1998, Phil helped direct an album of Christmas music and spirituals performed by clients of the Atlanta Union Mission at Haygood Memorial UMC in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta.  The album was distributed and sold ny the Union Mission with proceeds used to support the client's rehabilitation, housing, medical and other needs.         

Founding and Directing the Community Music Centers represents both the culmination of his career to date and an exciting set of new opportunities for Phil to teach and create from a completely independent platform.  It was also the fulfillment of a long held dream he shared with co-Founder and Director, Diana Orozco, and one of the ways Phil marked his 40th birthday.

Phil's educational ideas and methods impact all CMC Atlanta students through the Administrative role he plays in designing and implementing CMC programs and curricula.  His private composition students have enrolled in collegiate composition and sound programs around the country after their high school graduation, including a recent graduate who enrolled to study with Pulitzer Prize winning composers in New York City and others sent to study sound design at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Berklee College of Music, Lamont School of Music in Denver, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Phil Sims, website


Additional Info

  • Collegiate studies: Eastman School of Music
  • Instructional areas: Piano, Theory, Composition
  • CMC Faculty start date: 2007
  • email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Phone: (404) 614-0466
More in this category: Diana Orozco »

we're celebrating 15 years

Since 2007


A Note from the Founders & Directors

Welcome to Community Music Centers of Atlanta

CMC Atlanta is a music education company founded in 2007 as the L5P Music Center. In the 13 years since our founding, we've grown from offering music lessons at a single site to a network of four local community music schools (Decatur, Dunwoody, Little 5 Points and Brookhaven) that offers an array of innovative, but historically-informed music education programs to students of all ages and skill levels. Working in collaboration with Capstone Academy, an accredited private school, we also created a high school conservatory program, Atlanta Music High School, which opened in August 2017.  


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