Skip to page content

Julie Smith Phillips

About this Artist

One of the most prominent American harpists today, Julie Smith Phillips is an award-winning concert artist and orchestral musician. Internationally recognized for her performing style and diverse repertoire, Ms. Phillips’ playing is described as “precise” and “luminous” (American Record Guide) “musically polished” (Hartford Courant) with “spectacular results” (San Diego Story). She is a top prize winner at the USA International Harp Competition, one of the most prestigious harp competitions in the world, receiving the Silver (2004) and Bronze (2001) medals in back-to-back competitions.

Ms. Phillips was appointed Principal Harpist of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in 2007. She has performed as guest principal harp with the Chicago, Houston, Dallas and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras and has additionally performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Prior to her post in San Diego, she was named Acting Principal Harp of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and also served as Principal Harp for the New World Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Phillips regularly works with composers to enlarge the repertoire for harp. Collaborations include works by Avner Dorman, Lei Liang, Dylan Mattingly, Hannah Lash, Michael Torke, Timo Andres, David Bruce, Rand Steiger, and Jeremy Cavaterra. Awarded for her impressive performance style of contemporary works, the 2023-24 season will include the premiere of a commission for solo harp by Michi Wianko as well as a repeat performance of Dylan Mattingly’s Sunt Lacrimae Rerum and Rand Steiger’s Grace.

Ms. Phillips is a member of the Myriad Trio, performing with Demarre McGill, flute, and Che-Yen Chen, viola, and regularly performs at La Jolla SummerFest and the Mainly Mozart Summer Festival, among others. She is the founder of the Nebraska Harp Workshop Retreat, an annual summer experience and center for harp training and study in the midwest region and during the school year she teaches at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. She previously served as Head of the Harp Department at Arizona State University in Phoenix, AZ for four years.

Studying with Yolanda Kondonassis, Ms. Phillips received her Bachelor and Masters degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her recorded albums include The Rhapsodic Harp and The Eye of Night (with the Myriad Trio). A native of Hastings, NE, Julie Smith Phillips now resides in Carlsbad, CA with her husband, Tommy Phillips, and three young children, Samantha, Henry & Jack.

More information about Ms. Phillips can be found at