Dr. Paul-Elliott Cobbs

Music Director
Conductor, Tacoma Youth Symphony (TYS)

Paul-Elliott Cobbs is an avid educator and world-renowned maestro. His talent and amicable personality have inspired both musicians and symphony-goers throughout the world. According to Dr. Cobbs, the same diligence, determination, self-confidence and love needed to succeed in music is also necessary in everyday situations. This is the philosophy he brings to the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association. As Music Director, Dr. Cobbs has conducted the Tacoma Youth Symphony, the Tacoma Junior Youth Symphony, the annual Chamber Orchestra (formerly the Bach Festival) and the Discover Music education concerts. In addition to his conducting duties, Dr. Cobbs is the head of the chamber music program and leads the musical direction of the entire organization. He is also the Music Director of the Evergreen Music Festival.

In addition to his work with the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association, Dr. Cobbs is Music Director and Conductor of the Everett Philharmonic and frequent guest conductor and adjudicator throughout the world. Having recently returned from England where he conducted the Sussex Symphony, he has also completed 26 years with the Everett Symphony and seven years as Director of Orchestras at Central Washington University. He is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Everett Philharmonic.

Dr. Cobbs is also an international conductor, with conducting credits from Japan and Europe. In February 1995, he was the first American to conduct the Erzgebirge Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig, Germany. Due to the sold-out performance, three encores and seven curtain calls, Dr. Cobbs was named “Star Conductor from the U.S.A.” by the Die Freie Presse. In 1996, Dr. Cobbs was invited to conduct two performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Leipzig with members of the Dresden and Leipzig operas. The next two seasons he returned to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Japan for conducting invitations. He completed an unprecedented five consecutive seasons as a guest conductor for  several Polish National Orchestras. This past spring he Guest Conducted the Sussex Symphony in Brighton, England and following a superb performance was appointed their “Regular Guest Conductor.”

Dr. Cobbs began his conducting career in Detroit, Michigan where he was the Associate Conductor of the Detroit Metropolitan Symphony, Principal Conductor of its chamber orchestra, and frequent guest conductor of the Michigan Opera. While in Europe studying conducting at the Akademie für Musik, he was Principal Conductor of the Festival Chamber Orchestra in Vienna. In the Northwest, he has been a high school instrumental music director, guest lecturer at the Seattle University and University of Washington, conductor at the Marrowstone Music Festival, assistant conductor with the Seattle Opera, Conductor of the Seattle Junior Youth Symphony, Music Director and Conductor of the Everett Youth Symphony, Conductor of the Discover Music! community concert series with the Seattle Symphony, and Music Department Chairman, Orchestra Conductor and Theory Instructor at the Northwest School of the Arts in Seattle.

Awards and Recognitions

2023: “Legacy Award” from the Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards

2022: Induction to the Washington Music Educators’ Association (WMEA) Hall of Fame

2008: “Lifetime Achievement Award” from ArtsFund (formerly the Corporate Council for the Arts)

1996: Richard & Nancy Wendt Award of Excellence for extraordinary commitment to Everett’s art community


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