Harvey Phillips was a tuba virtuoso and distinguished professor emeritus of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington (appointed professor 1971 – retired May 1994). He performed as tuba soloist throughout the world. He was a professional freelance musician from 1950 to 1971. His first professional musicianship was with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Band as a teenager. He served as personnel manager for Symphony of the Air, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, and Gunther Schuller.
Mr. Phillips was highly-regarded in the musician and tuba communities because his efforts brought the tuba to a much wider audience. He played many different forms of music in his career, showing many new possibilities for the tuba, and encouraging many younger players to become soloists and take the instrument in new directions. His creation of TubaChristmas has inspired others to create festivals for the tuba, and he has helped to build a brother/sisterhood among tuba players. Along with William Bell and Arnold Jacobs, Mr. Phillips is considered lengendary among tubists.
In 2007, Mr Phillips was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame, the only wind instrument player to receive the prestigious honor.
In September, 2008, Harvey Phillips received the IU President’s Medal for Excellence, one of the highest honors an IU president can bestow.